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Teaching the Holocaust in Palestine

Hamas and Fatah refuse to allow any form of Holocaust education in UNRWA-run schools in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Hamas says doing so would be a “challenge to the feelings of the Palestinians.”

They accused UNRWA of conducting a political agenda that is not conducive to the interests of Palestinians and “violates their culture and unchangeable values.”

They also said it would pave the road for normalization with Israel.

“This is an attempt to impose on us the culture of normalization with the occupation…They want us to accept the tales and lies to win sympathy.”

Hamas insists the Holocaust is a lie, concocted to win sympathy with the “usurping entity” at the expense of the rights of the Palestinians.

On the matter, the Hamas ministry warned UNRWA:

“This is a flagrant intervention in the internal affairs of the Palestinians and a violation of regulations that have existed since the establishment of UNRWA.”

Representatives said schools should dedicate classes to talking about the “occupation’s terror and racism” instead.

But it’s not just Hamas. Senior Fatah official and head of the PLO “refugee department,” Zakariya al-Agha, said he too is opposed to teaching the Nazi Holocaust in Palestinian schools.

Another Fatah representative, Salah al-Wadiyeh, said the Holocuast was a “big lie.”

He said, the Palestinians, “know more than any other people the history of their enemies and their false claims and lies.”

Despite their agreement on the big Holocaust myth, however, Fatah and Hamas will not be joining up to form a unity government. Fatah representatives have spoken out about their disapproval of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s plans to keep Hamas in control of Gaza.

Meanwhile, a new joint effort between the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum and the Shas party’s Ma’ayan Hinuch Torani is working on enhancing the Holocaust education of the educational network’s haredi Sephardi students.

Medical Histadrut Permits Over-the-Counter Ritalin

RitalinThe Ethics Committee of the Medical Histadrut (Federation) will now be permitted to sell the psycho-stimulant drug that treats attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) Ritalin (Methylphenidate) without a doctor’s prescription.

Professor Esther Shohami, a lecturer and researcher in the pharmacological department in the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Medicine, is critical of the decision.

She told Yediot Achronot:

“A person who does not need Ritalin and only takes the medication to improve performance could cause certain things that were hidden inside him to erupt…There are people who arrive at the emergency rooms with psychotic seizures.”

The head of the IMA’s Ethics Board, Professor Avinoam Reches said:

“Everyone has the right to make the most of themselves so long as it doesn’t hurt or endanger others…Though a person may not suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder, if Ritalin helps him concentrate then it is allowed. It is the same for memory-improvement drugs. If they help a person with slightly worsened cognitive skills then there is no reason not to give them to him…”

Reches stated, however, Israel will not assist in paying for the drug unless medical need has been proven. Students who need extra help during exams will have to pay the full price for Ritalin, and will not receive financing from their HMOs.

Scores Too Low On Achievement Testing Of Israel’s Youth

A study was released on Sunday by the Jerusalem based Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel, saying that education gaps in Israel were, in the last decade, the highest in the Western world.

Taub Center executive-director Professor Dan Ben-David said that the Israeli school system’s failure to grant children tools to be used in adult life

“will put them at a severe disadvantage that many will be unable to extricate themselves from…by creating the largest education gaps in the Western word,” he added that Israel is “sowing the seeds today of high income gaps tomorrow.”

The comparative study of grade school students from 25 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member states, proved that students from Israel had scores that were inconsistent on international exams, in comparison to students from around the world.

SatelliteThe study also showed, sadly, that Israeli achievement test scores were substantially lower than in other Western nations. In some instances Israel had scores which were lower by a margin as wide as 20 points.

Italy was the only Western nation which came close to Israel’s ranking, with students receiving comparatively low test scores, nonetheless which were higher than those of Italy’s Israeli counterparts.

Even Israeli honor students received comparatively lower test scores on international tests, though by a smaller margin. The most dramatic difference was manifested by the weak Israeli pupils; compared to their Canadian and Finnish counterparts, a margin as high as 60 points was observed.

“For a country whose entire population is barely greater than that of metropolitan Philadelphia … these findings indicate existential problems in the next generation – unless a comprehensive reform of the educational system is adopted, and soon,”

concluded Ben-David.

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