The New York State Regents’ exam, administered annually to the state’s high school students, is taking heat for what critics say were “loaded” questions about Israel.
Jewish leaders and civic organizations pointed to a section of the test that asked two questions about maps of the changes to Israel’s borders since 1948.
Former State Assembly member Dov Hikind slammed the Global History and Geography Regents II exam, saying the maps “lack all context.”
Hikind said the text of the question did not include the information that the border changes resulted from successive wars started by Arab states to annihilate Israel.
“Second, the questions, at best, lend themselves to debate, not to singular answers from among false choices.”
Hikind also noted that the exam administered a week ago included the trope that the state of Israel was created in response to the Holocaust, and that “Zionists and Jewish immigrants” benefited most from the “changing borders.”
One of the questions asked, “Which historical event most directly influenced the development of the 1947 plan shown on map A (and showed a map of Israel from 1947).” The possible answers were 1) Russian pogroms, 2) the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire 3) Paris Peace Conference 4) the Holocaust, with 4 being the right answer.
The second question asked, “Which group benefited most from the changes shown on the maps?” The right answer, according to the test, was “Zionists and Jewish Immigrants.”
Showing the maps and asking why the State of Israel was created “just attributes it to the Holocaust,” Hikind pointed out, noting that in fact the Zionist movement that led to the rebirth of the Jewish State actually began with Theodor Herzl in the 1800s.
He added that by reducing the creation of the Jewish State to the Holocaust, the questions ignore the Jewish people’s historical, ancestral and biblical connection to the Land of Israel, a connection that “goes back thousands of years.”
The proctors charged with administering the test were shocked at what they saw, Hikind told the New York Post. “One proctor was so angry, she was beside herself,” he said.
In response, the New York State Education Department said the two questions on Israel were “designed to test students’ knowledge of geography as it relates to historical events, contending that “New York State social studies teachers prepared, selected, and reviewed the excerpt and questions on the Global History Regents Exam prior to their inclusion.
“All exam questions are reviewed multiple times by NYS-certified teachers and State Education Department subject matter and testing specialists to ensure they are not biased, accurately measure the learning standards, and contain no errors.”
Brooklyn City Council member Inna Vernikov and the Americans Against Antisemitism organization are joining Hikind in calling on New York State Commissioner of Education Betty Rosa to “swiftly remove the disingenuous questions and conduct a thorough audit to ensure such egregious distortions of history that invariably lead to animosity for the sole Jewish State aren’t being inadvertently fed to our children.”