How does a state keep its capital city united? A strange question, and one that is clearly not an issue in most of the world. But in Israel, whose capital is the most coveted and contested city in the world, the problem is an acute one.
Even this very week, as we celebrate Yom Yerushalayim, the 45th anniversary of the liberation and unification of our Holy City, the Arab world continues to encourage its masses to believe that Jerusalem will soon be theirs. Thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters cheered a preacher in Cairo a few days ago when he promised them that a global Islamic caliphate will have its capital in none other than the city of King David.
“The capital of the caliphate – the capital of the United States of the Arabs – will be Jerusalem,” the preacher declared, “not Cairo, Mecca or Medina.” The crowd then chanted, “Millions of martyrs march toward Jerusalem.”
What, then, must be Israel’s strategy to keep Jerusalem united under Jewish sovereignty? In this age of information, it must center not only around security and diplomacy, but also education. To allow the PLO to control the curriculum in Arab schools in eastern Jerusalem – as the Palestinian Authority demands – means allowing the Arab narrative to be officially inculcated into the younger Arab generation, year after year, with no interference. This, in turn, means that we are conceding our sovereignty in all of Jerusalem, and even worse, tacitly encouraging new generations of terrorists, suicide bombers, and other anti-Israel “freedom fighters.”
For what is the “Arab narrative” that comprises the basis of PLO education? It is that the Jews are colonial usurpers of the homeland that has been holy for Palestinians since time immemorial; that Israel has no legal or moral right to exist and is living on borrowed time; that it flourishes not on its own merits but by virtue of American handouts; and that it brutalizes Arabs wherever possible via Israel’s “Occupation Forces” and “apartheid” government.
Having been fed such poison, what self-respecting generation anywhere could grow up with anything other than total hatred and resentment for Israel, and often the desire to kill and maim? For Israel to allow these lies – each of the above is nothing less – to be taught unfettered is a form of national suicide.
Yet just a week ago, PA prime minister Salam Fayyad announced he will fight for the right to indoctrinate his young precisely in that way. “We assure you,” he told a rally in Ramallah, “that the PA is determined to continue to stand with you to protect the Palestinian curriculum in East Jerusalem, with all its contents, and confront all attempts to distort and tamper with the national and Arabic curriculum in the city.”
The PA’s Maan news agency reported that in 2011, the Jerusalem municipality sent a letter to the heads of private schools, which receive Israeli funding, instructing them to use only textbooks prepared by the Jerusalem Educational Administration, a joint body of the municipality and the Israeli Ministry of Education. The PA Education Ministry had actually placed its logo all new textbooks; Israel removed it.
We recommend that you write to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (http://www.facebook.com/nir.barkat) and to Israel’s education minister (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gideon-Saar/34775063966), asking them to ensure that Israel does not give up its rights to teach the truth in its capital.
Benzion Netanyahu, Legality of Settlements, and KeepJerusalem
As these words are being written, Prime Minister Netanyahu is completing his shiva mourning period for his father, Professor Benzion Netanyahu, who passed away at the age of 102. In late 2010, KeepJerusalem conducted what was likely the last video interview with the venerable historian and ardent Zionist, on the occasion of his joining KJ’s advisory board.
Prof. Netanyahu told KeepJerusalem that the way to ensure Jewish control over all of Jerusalem is “to enlist the Jewish people to fight for the integrity and completeness of Jewish Jerusalem.” Asked if he meant militarily, he said, “Yes, if that’s what’s needed.”
The historian, who was Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s last personal secretary, said KeepJerusalem should continue its work in educating the Jews about Jerusalem: “But don’t come to people like me who’ve been there 100 times; go to people who haven’t been there even once!”