The next Israeli school year (2016–2017) will focus studies on the “unity of Jerusalem,” Education Minister Naftali Bennett announced this week.
Every since Israel reunited the city in 1967, the international community has been trying to once again divide Jerusalem between the Jewish state and a Palestinian state.
But Israel has consistently rejected such a compromise. Polls show that an overwhelming majority of Israelis view the unity of Jerusalem as more important than a peace agreement with the Palestinian leadership.
To ensure that commitment to the Holy City passes on the next generation, Bennett has proposed a curriculum that incorporates the unity of Jerusalem into nearly all subjects.
The move coincides with the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem to take place on Jerusalem Day 2017.
“Everyone who tried to uproot us from the city only made us advance this program faster – and there is none more educational,” said Bennett. “Our history begins in Jerusalem,” said Bennett, “and from it we will draw our fortitude precisely in difficult times.”
Left-wing Member of Knesset Stav Shaffir (Labor) criticized Bennett, insisting that Jewish history began “in Egypt,” not Jerusalem.
She was immediately taken to task by a group of Labor activists called the Flagbearers, who fear their secular, liberal party has veered too far to the Left.
“Stav, this is pettiness,” the Flagbearers wrote on Facebook. “Broadly speaking, you got the facts right. …[But] it seemed as though you were brushing off the unassailable bond between the Jewish people and Jerusalem, our capital… After all, a survey of Labor’s voters would find that most of them would not oppose this and would even be glad for their children to learn about Jerusalem.”