Forward Thinking

When Israelis Teach Their Kids To Hate

By Michael Kaplan

  • Print
  • Share Share

A boy plays with a rifle during a weapons display in Efrat, Independence Day 2014 / Getty Images

Little kids throw mock grenades and pretend to shoot big guns; a boy crawls militant-style as gun-wielding adults cheer him on; a girl wearing a pink dress carries a rocket launcher twice her size.

These are some of the disturbing photos that flooded out of the West Bank earlier this week on Israel’s Independence Day, or what Palestinians call the Nakba (Catastrophe).

I can imagine that despair and hopelessness probably rattled the Jewish community. How could there ever be peace when kids are trained to aspire toward violence and militancy?

At my old Jewish day school, there was probably a lot of chatter about how this was further proof that only military force could work to quell violence. The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) was probably all over the story. Palestinian Media Watch, too.

But instead, when I turned on my computer this morning, I couldn’t find a thing on any of the sites that track hate in the Middle East. None of my newsy friends even dedicated a Facebook status. No one seemed to really care. And for one reason: the people in question weren’t Palestinians, but right-wing Jewish settlers.

Gideon Levy, a Haaretz columnist, noted the striking similarities between these photos and the Palestinian glorification of violence. “Where else do they force a little child to crawl with a backpack on his back? When Hamas treats its children like this, Israeli parents tut-tut with disgust: Look at these beasts.”

It’s a double standard all too common to the conflict.

We’re told that Palestinian maps in schools often show a unified Palestine between the river and the sea — “how awful!” — yet Israeli maps, more often than Palestinian ones in fact, don’t show the Green Line, and Jews don’t really seem to care.

We’re told that Palestinians are taught in school that the Jewish historical claims to the land, particularly the Temple Mount, don’t really exist — “how awful!” — yet in a similar tone, many Israeli children learn that “Palestinians” were only recently invented, and Jews don’t really seem to care.

We’re told that Palestinian textbooks distort history — “how awful!” — yet a recent State Department study found that many Israeli textbooks do too, and Jews don’t really seem to care.

And now, we have yet another confirmation that Israeli children also learn to glorify and aspire toward violence, and — surprise, surprise — no one really seems to care.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: West Bank, Palestinian, Israel

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • It’s over. The tyranny of the straight-haired, button nosed, tan-skinned girl has ended. Jewesses rejoice!
  • It's really, really, really hard to get kicked out of Hebrew school these days.
  • "If Netanyahu re-opens the settlement floodgates, he will recklessly bolster the argument of Hamas that the only language Israel understands is violence."
  • Would an ultra-Orthodox leader do a better job of running the Met Council?
  • So, who won the war — Israel or Hamas?
  • 300 Holocaust survivors spoke out against Israel. Did they play right into Hitler's hands?
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.