education system partly to blame for settler violence

  • Post last modified:March 22, 2024
  • Reading time:6 mins read

Some of Israel’s ordinary citizens have been protesting aid entering Palestine and making disturbing statements about Palestinians. One referred to the ongoing genocide and displacement of Gazans as ‘cleaning’. Another said that Israeli must ‘civilise’ Gaza. Yet another said “we must kill all of them”.

These Israelis are responsible for their words and actions. But it seems these opinions partly have their root in Israel’s education system, which content analysis has shown to be racist against Palestinians and Arabs.

The Israeli media along with its politicians’ leading genocidal language also contribute:

Palestinians are in desperate need of aid. Human Rights Watch notes Israel has been using starvation as a weapon of war, which is a war crime. Israel also let in massively insufficient aid to Gaza only to massacre the Palestinians arriving to receive it. And the occupying power already cut off food supplies.

Teaching racism to children

According to Israeli academic Nurit Peled-Elhanan, Israel’s education system indoctrinates children into prejudice against Palestinians:

The only representation is as refugees, primitive farmers and terrorists. You never see a Palestinian child or doctor or teacher or engineer or modern farmer.

Peled-Elhanan studied content over five years of Israel’s education material. She also said:

People don’t really know what their children are reading in textbooks.. One question that bothers many people is how do you explain the cruel behaviour of Israeli soldiers towards Palestinians, an indifference to human suffering, the inflicting of suffering. People ask how can these nice Jewish boys and girls become monsters once they put on a uniform. I think the major reason for that is education. So I wanted to see how school books represent Palestinians.

Across ‘hundreds’ of books, she could not find one depiction of an Arab as a “normal person”. Numerous other studies have found racism prevalent in Israeli education.

Genocidal language from leadership

Israeli politicians have been using genocidal incitement against the Palestinians since the violence escalated on 7 October. Israeli President Isaac Herzog said:

It’s an entire nation out there that is responsible. This rhetoric about civilians not aware, not involved, it’s absolutely not true.

Defense minister for Israel Yoav Gallant said:

no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed… We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly.

Following that, the Israeli military has massacred over 31,000 Palestinians, including over 13,000 children.

Israel’s media a ‘tool of politicians’

Author of a report on journalism funding in Israel Roni Dorot wrote that media outlets in Israel:

 are used as tools to promote the interests of various powerful players, both politicians and businesses

The report concluded that there are:

serious concerns related to media consolidation, crony capitalism, undue cross-ownership cases and lack of transparency, which are all key ingredients of media capture, a form of excessive control by oligarchic structures and political elites that seems to find a propitious environment in Israel

The report – by the Center for Media, Data and Society (CMDS) – also states that:

The Israeli media market is also shaped by the unstable political realities of the Middle East, which produce a security-oriented public discourse of high intensity

Israel has played a role in the “unstable political realities” of the Middle East. To establish itself as a state in 1948, Zionists colonised 78% of Palestine.

It also took the Golan Heights from Syria, occupied the rest of Palestine and invaded Lebanon, sparking the creation of Hezbollah.

Now Israel is conducting a genocidal campaign of more colonisation against the Palestinians. Genocidal views can take root in the education, media, and political landscape of a nation.

Featured image via the Grayzone – YouTube

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