RAMALLAH, August 29 (JMCC) - Students in Israeli schools started the academic year with a discussion over the mob beating of a Palestinian teen in Jerusalem nearly two weeks earlier, reports the
New York Times.
Speaking with Palestinians and Jews who attend a rare mixed school, the newspaper recorded their experiences of racism and hatred.
“People are taught to hate,” he said, “so they hate.”
Tamer attends an unusual school, one that seeks to bridge the Arab-Jewish divide. But on the first day of classes Monday, when his teacher opened a discussion about the attack, the smoldering anger and distrust came through, even there. “From the age of 5, they say, ‘Death to Arabs,’ ” he said.
When the teacher countered, recalling a film in which Palestinian children chanted, “Death to Israel, death to Jews,” Tamer appeared defeated. “There is no hope when you see things like that,” he said.
The classroom conversation, as some two million Israeli children started school on Monday, was part of national hand-wringing over the Aug. 16 beating in Zion Square, which was described as an attempted lynching that left 17-year-old Jamal Julani near death. The education minister instructed all junior high and high schools to conduct a lesson on the episode, which revealed festering wounds regarding race, violence and extremism.
Israel has been struggling with myriad internal conflicts involving identity and pluralism. As the ultra-Orthodox population has grown, battles have erupted over the role of women in the public sphere and whether Yeshiva students should remain exempt from military service. A surge of illegal immigration by African workers led to a fierce backlash this spring, raising questions of tolerance. And a spate of mosque burnings and vandalism has hit Palestinian villages in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.