At the end of March 2016 the Hamas-affiliated Shihab News Agency issued a video showing a Palestinian teacher indoctrinating school children with hatred for Israel and support for an armed struggle against it. The teacher used the letters of the Arabic alphabet as a didactic tool to teach them “the fundamental Palestinian national principles” even before they learn to read.
The name of the school is not mentioned in the video, but an ITIC examination (including a comparison between existing pictures and the picture in the video) indicated the video was apparently filmed in the Rudolf Walther School in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, which was constructed with money from a German donor. The school is a complex of three governmental schools under the jurisdiction of the ministry of education in the Gaza Strip, which is a branch of the Palestinian Authority (PA) ministry of education. The complex has an elementary school for boys, an elementary school for girls, and a high school for boys. According to the boys’ elementary school Facebook page, its objectives are to educate for “correct values and to inculcate the awareness and concept of a flourishing Islamic homeland” (Facebook page of the Rudolf Walther Boys’ Elementary School, March 31, 2016).
An examination of the Facebook pages of the three wings of the Rudolf Walther School indicates the themes are introduced into both the formal and informal educational system in the school (and in other Palestinian schools). The Palestinian educational system in the Gaza Strip inculcates its students with radical Islamic values and teaches them hatred for Israel. In addition, the children undergo military training in preparation for joining Hamas when they are older. The antiIsraeli brainwashing they receive, as shown in the video, is not exceptional and is reinforced with a variety of military and doctrinal activities carried out in the Rudolf Walther School.