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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/29/15

Israel's army and schools work hand in hand, say teachers

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A history lesson plan proposed last year, shortly after Israel's 51-day attack on Gaza that left at least 500 Palestinian children dead, encouraged pupils to be "Jewish fighters," modeling themselves on the Biblical figure of Joshua.

But Revital said most teachers were not concerned by these developments. "Out of the 100 teachers in my school, maybe two or three think like me. The rest think it's important the army are in the school."

Among those is Amit, who teaches Judaism in central Israel. He said: "Inviting soldiers into the classroom is not just about encouraging the students to enlist but for us to talk about the value of solidarity and the contribution every person can make to society...

"Our job is to prepare them for future challenges, and that includes the army. We can't ignore the reality that we live in a country where there are soldiers everywhere."

Neve, however, said hopes of ending Israel's conflicts in the region depended on bringing a more civilian ethos back into schools.

"If our students don't learn about others' history, about the Palestinians, then how can they develop empathy for them? Without it, there can be no hope of peace."

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Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. He is the 2011 winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are "Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and "Disappearing Palestine: (more...)

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