I hesitate to post this because it's so long, but since it's not available except as an e-mail, and that I find it interesting, I'll paste it all. The substance of the debate is so familiar:
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon provided the public with the real reason for Israel's descent into the Oslo disaster. In a speech that he delivered to the first grade in the Ben Zvi School in Ramleh, on the occasion of the opening of the school year, he said: "Israel is the only place in the Middle East, and possibly in the world, in which the first word taught in school is 'shalom' [literally, peace, in the Hebrew for welcome to the first grade - shalom kitah alef]." his seems to be a fine and moving thought. But there's a catch to it.
We all agree that it is good to teach Israeli children that "peace" s an exalted value. The problem begins when the educational system - that is dominated by the left, even when the right is in power - distorts the meaning of the word "peace" for its political purposes, and keeps from our children information about the true meaning of the word shalom that is to be found in the Jewish sources. And so the word "peace" has become synonymous with total capitulation to the demands by the enemy, for the handing over of regions of the homeland to the enemy, for waiving the values of Judaism. Israeli children who study in the State
educational system sing ad nauseum "Shir ha-Shalom" [the "Song of Peace"], and at times are even exposed to the verse "Oseh shalom bi- mromav - May the One who makes peace in the heights make peace for us, and for all Israel. Now say: Amen" - but they do not learn the warnings by our prophets against a false peace.
Who in the State educational system has learned of the admonition by Jeremiah (6:14): "They offer healing offhand for the wounds of My people, saying, 'Peace, peace,' when there is no peace"? There, and in other passages, the prophet Jeremiah warns the people of Israel against false leaders and prophets who delude the people that there will be peace, and lull the public with false promises that, even if the situation seems difficult, there is no need to worry, the evil will not come(sounds familiar and up to date?). The prophet Ezekiel also warns us time and again: "the prophets of Israel who prophesy about Jerusalem and see a vision of shalom when there is no shalom" (13:16).
But most Israeli schoolchildren do not receive this important information from our sources. Their minds are poisoned by the lies and false hopes that the leftists drum into them from the first to the twelfth grades, through very "special" politicized textbooks. Dr. Yoram Hazony, the President of the Shalem Center, has been warning for years against the quiet de-Judaizing revolution that is underway in Israeli schools and universities. We all recall the uproar about two years ago regarding a new ninth grade history book that was written in a post-Zionist and anti-Jewish spirit. The problem, however, is not any specific book.
As Hazony explains, in an article that appeared in the New Republic about two years ago ("Who Removed Zionism from Israel's Textbooks ?"), the real problem is those academics who decide about the curriculum of the educational system. People such as Israel Bartel and the historian Moshe Zimmermann admit in interviews with them that they brought about a revision in the entire educational system. According to them, it was necessary to give new meaning to Jewish history, and to downplay its value and importance!! The fact that these anti-Jewish individuals continued to be active, even when the right was in power, is an unforgivable crime. Because of them, the emphasis in Israel in recent decades has been on universal history, and not on Jewish history. The study of the Jewish people, of Jewish culture, and of the State of Israel appears in the curriculum, but only in marginal chapters, in a sea of chapters on Greek, African, Brazilian, and American culture, and who knows what else.
The Israeli-Arab conflict, as well, is explained in the history books from a "universal" perspective, so that the Israeli pupil does not
identify with the Zionist pioneers who established the State of Israel, but - at best - feels neutral towards the subject, and - at worst - because he did not receive the proper tools and the information concerning the special bond of the people of Israel with Eretz Israel, identifies specifically with the Arab side.
And so, because of the distortion of the meaning of the word "peace" and all that this implies, a new generation has grown up in Israel in the past twenty years, one that has undergone brainwashing, one that received a spoilt education that undermines the basic principles of Judaism, and our right to our land. This is the generation that allowed its leaders to sign the cursed Oslo accords.
Let us not deceive ourselves: even those who received a Zionist State-Religious education have been adversely influenced by the
entire Oslo atmosphere that polluted our air in the last decade, not only in the textbooks, but also in the state media. How many young people who belong to the national camp are really capable of debating with "Peace Now" people and win the debate by refuting all of their lying slogans? Have our young people, who complete the twelfth grade and enter the world at large, received the tools and the information to reject the incorrect claims that are disseminated in the media, in the university, in the army, and everywhere else, such as: "According to international law, the presence of Israelis in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza is a violation of international law"? Or another widespread lie: "The settlements in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza are situated on occupied Arab land." Or, who knows that the slogan "The Jewish people never had any historical connection to the Gaza district" is a total falsehood? How many of our young people are capable of facing a leftist and, based on clear and accurate information, convincing him that the word "Israeli occupation" is total nonsense and that in fact the opposite is true: it is the Arabs who occupy our Jewish land! Or that the concept "Jewish state" is not a "racist" concept, as the extreme left claims?
In the past two years, the two years of the bloody Oslo War, the Jewish people has sobered up and understood that the education that it received was warped education for a false peace. The Education Minister, Limor Livnat, announced the introduction of a curriculum that will impart more Jewish heritage, more Zionism, and more Judaism to our children, but it will take many years until this moderate program will have an effect, if at all.
What is needed now is renewed and expedited education that will correct the educational distortion that was committed, and that will give our young people the tools to face the many challenges, with strength and vigor. Already this year, we can, and must, begin to initiate classes with the participation of both parents and their children, beginning from the ninth grade and up, in which they will make up the material that they never received: Bible, Jewish history, Zionist history, our right to Eretz Israel, refuting the lies of our enemies - the list goes on and on. Gandhi (Rehavam Ze'evi),HY"D, always recalled to us the verse: "May the Lord grant strength to His people, may the Lord bestow on His people shalom" (Psalms 29:11). First we must see strength and vigor, and then and only then shalom will come. Only if we give our children a more Jewish education, will, with God's help, a new generation grow up in Israel, with greater strength. A generation that will no longer fall into the trap of a false peace.