Egyptian Schools Will Teach Peace Treaty with Israel for the First Time

Egyptian anti-goverment demonstrators perform the Friday noon prayer during protests in Cairo's landmark Tahrir Square on February 11, 2011

TEL AVIV – For the first time ever, Egyptian schools will teach students about the historic 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.

Israel’s Army Radio procured a copy of a new Egyptian history textbook that includes an entire chapter devoted to the treaty, signed in Washington by former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

The textbook explains in a “matter-of-fact manner,” devoid of bias, that both countries “ended the state of war” with “each side respecting the sovereignty and independence of the other side.”

The textbooks do not mention that Sadat was later murdered by activists who objected to the peace accord. They do include the fact that both Sadat and Begin won the Nobel Peace Prize for “the great effort they invested in reaching peace in the Middle East.”

The report said that the new textbook is part of an educational reform announced by the Egyptian Education Ministry two years ago.

Some 1,300 different books were amended as part of the reform. Notably, the changes marginalize the role of then-commander of the Egyptian air force, Hosni Mubarak, in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. The portrayal of Mubarak as president during the 2011 Tahrir Square demonstrations was left unchanged.

Content pertaining to the ensuing presidency of Mohammad Morsi was also minimized, but details about the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamist ideologies were added.