Following a formal hearing at the Israel Knesset Education Committee, held on Monday at the Israel Knesset Parliament, the Chairman of the Knesset Education Committee, MK Yaakov Margi, issued a formal, unprecedented directive to the Israel Education Ministry and the Jerusalem Department of Education, requiring them to provide – for the first time – precise documentation of the oversight and enforcement procedures of educational materials used for Arab schools in Jerusalem, both in the Israel capital’s municipal schools and UNRWA schools.
By law, the Education Committee directive must be fulfilled within 45 days.
Most recently, the Center for Near East Policy Research engaged the Arabic speaking journalist academics Dr. Arnon Groiss and Dr. Ronni Shaked to acquire, evaluate and translate all of the schoolbooks used in the Arab sector in Jerusalem. They found the books rife with demonization of Jews, denial of Israel’s legitimacy, along with calls for a violent war (jihad) to liberate all of Palestine. Their interim report can be perused at here.
During the hearing, members of the Knesset Aliza Lavie, Anat Berko, Yehudah Glick, Oded Forer, Amir Ohana and Motti Yogev, exposed harsh evidence of the continuing incitement to terror and violence taking place in Jerusalem Arab municipal and UNRWA schools.
Approximately 100,000 Arab students in Jerusalem schools are exposed daily to educational material which glorifies jihad, supports terror, encourages hate, anti-Semitism and the de-legitimization of the State of Israel and the Jewish people, while depicting Palestine “from the Jordan to the sea” and encouraging school children to reclaim it at all costs.
In less than six weeks’ time, the Israel education establishment will have to show what it has done and what it intends to do to cope with current trends in Arab schools in Jerusalem. That report will form the basis for litigation and education reform.
Since more than 30 countries donate to UNRWA schools in Jerusalem, UNRWA education accountability will involve consuls of the lead donors to UNRWA: The US, The UK, EU, Sweden, and Germany.
There are two non-Israelis who have inspired this inquiry.
The first is Rabbi David Saperstein, the head of the Religious Action Center in Washington, who served for the past two years as the U.S. Ambassador for Religious Freedom. On several occasions, Rabbi Saperstein hosted a wide range of Jewish organizations in Washington to hear the Center for Near East Policy Research to present its films and research, which document the incitement inherent in the new Palestinian curriculum now used in UNRWA schools. Rabbi Saperstein, however, made the point that until and unless the issue of incitement becomes an issue in Israel itself, no Jewish group in the diaspora will take the issue seriously.
The second non-Israeli who inspired this inquiry is none other than UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness, who appeared opposite yours truly on a Fox News panel, and challenged our exposé of UNRWA incitement by saying that UNRWA schools operate freely in Israel’s capitol, with full “approval” of the government in Jerusalem. That clip can be viewed here.
The time has come has come to ask what kind of supervision the Israel Ministry of Education conducts of UNRWA schools in Jerusalem.
22% of Arab students now attend UNRWA schools in Jerusalem, under Israeli sovereignty.