Arab lawmaker upset over patriotic school initiative

Wednesday, November 28, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

An Israeli Arab lawmaker has angrily petitioned the Ministry of Education over an initiative to get Israeli high school students to connect more with the nation by putting their signatures to a copy of Israel's Declaration of Independence on the 60th anniversary of Israel's rebirth.

"You must stop this 'mission' to obtain high school student signatures on the Declaration of Independence," wrote Knesset Member Said Nafaa (Balad) in a letter to Education Minister Yuli Tamir obtained by Ynet. "Obtaining Arab student signatures is not only a politically harmful act from an educational as well as human perspective, but it also goes against the Law of Guardianship."

Nafaa's Balad Party has been at the forefront of a renewed Israeli Arab movement rejecting Israel's designation as a Jewish state and training young Israeli Arabs to see themselves as a population under occupation.

The Ministry of Education responded by noting that no students are being forced to sign the Declaration of Independence, and that knowledge of the document is an essential part of the education process for any sector of the population that claims to be a full, loyal and productive part of Israeli society.

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