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Member of Knesset Zveulun Orlev, Chair of the Knesset Education Committee.
Photo by Rhonda Spivak.

Knesset Member Ronit Tirosh, Kadima says regarding Israel's failure to change blatant incitement in PA textbooks in East Jerusalem, "The issue fell beteween the cracks."
Photo by Rhonda Spivak.

Danny Bar Giora, new head of Jerusalem Education Authority.
Photo by Rhonda Spivak.

Member of Knesset Masud Gnaim, from Arab Nationalist Raam-Taal Party.
Photo by Rhonda Spivak.


By Rhonda Spivak and David Bedein, July 6, 2010

This article has been picked up by 15 other websites since first published:

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 THE KNESSET, JERUSALEM- Following an unprecedented official hearing of the Knesset Education Committee chaired by Member of Knesset Zvulun Orlevdealing with incitement against Israel in textbooks used by the Palestinian Authority, Orlev wrote an urgent letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu on behalf of the Knesset Education Committee, demanding that PM Netanyahu raise the  issue with him in is meeting with President Obama on July 6.

The Knesset Education Committee, attended by  Israel government bodies and NGO's that address the issue of  Palestinian  textbooks, witnessed an audiovisual presentation from  Itamar Marcus of the Palestinian Media Watch and from Ido Mizrahi of the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education, located in the Hebrew university of Jerusalem []
Marcus and Mizrachi presented the details of how PA textbooks are rampant with incitement and  de-legitimization of Israel, and how the new PA school books routinely remove Israel from maps of the area.
This hearing comes only one week after PA President Mahmoud Abbas announced that Abbas had met with AIPAC in Washington on June 9th, where he  had assured Israel's lobby in the US that the PA had "deleted all incitement from the PA textbooks."
In the Knesset Education Committee letter of July 5 to the Prime Minister, the Committee Chairman MK Zvulun Orlev , wrote that the Committee learned of “worrisome’ and “troubling” findings that “the school textbooks that are being used by the PA are replete with “incitement to hatred and violence, a complete ignoring of the Holocaust, de-legitimization of Israel, and the negation of the connection between the people of Israel to its land, as well as an absence of messages of dialogue, reconciliation and peace.”

Orlev, who is from “Habayit Hayehudi” party, wrote that “This education contradicts, does not allow, and will not allow in the future any process of reconciliation between the peoples [Israelis and Palestinians] and will prevent any Palestinian leader to take the path of dialog and peace.”

“Your upcoming meeting with President Obama will be an opportunity to raise the need to change these dangerous messages and raise a new generation that will be prepared for reconciliation and the search for a means of dialog with ones neighbor.”

Orlev asked Netanyahu to raise this matter as a basic Israeli claim that will form the basis of any negotiations with the Palestinians.”

In his presentation to the Committee, Ido Mizrachi of IMPACT-SE, who reviewed official PA textbooks said  they  defined Jews as “snakes”, “rascists” “colonizers,” and in addition they glorified “shahids.”

“In atlases in PA textbooks, Israel is not there,” he added.

In his presentation to the Committee, Palestinian Media Watch’s Marcus also showed recent broadcasts from Palestinian Television, where the teacher is telling children that “Haifa, Akko, and Jaffa are all part of Palestine,

“This broadcast can also be seen by Israeli Arabs,” Marcus added.

Mizrachi, however, did note that he found a rare example of improvement in one PA grade 11 textbook, which referred to the Oslo process and an exchange of letters between Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin and then PLO chairman Yasser Arafat involving mutual recognition.

“This is an example of a positive change But this textbook was out of the ordinary (“Yotzeh Mehaclal.”), and not representative of the general overall picture [of denial of Israel’s existence],” Mizrachi noted.

Another Member of Knesset, Chaim Amsalem,from  Shas, added that he believed this example was a “tactical change” designed to enable the PA to feign to foreigners that it changed its textbooks and “to help make us fall asleep regarding this issue.” (‘Lehardim Otanu”).

An Arab Knesset Member, Masud Gnaim, from Arab Nationalist Raam-Taal party, was present for only several minutes of the discussion. His only comment was that these books reflected a historic Arab understanding

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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