This was to be expected. We sort of predicted this a month ago when Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar decided to take Nakba studies out of the national curriculum. “Nakba” studies are, essentially, a curriculum that identifies the creation of the State of Israel as an international “catastrophe.” We intimated that this approach wouldn’t really accomplish much except maybe save money on curriculum, and now that prediction is bearing fruit, or rather bearing nothing, as not accomplishing anything tends to bear.

Gideon SaarWhat’s happening now is that Arab educators are “expressing outrage” at Sa’ar’s intention to remove the phrase Nakba from textbooks in the Arab education system, and threatening civil disobedience if the ministry follows through on its decision.

The Arabs, of course, have every right to do this, and it should be expected, because there is a much more serious problem swelling up from the ground in Israel than declarations from the Education Ministry are equipped to handle.
“A prohibition to commemorate the Nakba of the Arab people in schools, the changing of road signs, forcing the singing of the ‘Tikva’ national anthem at schools and setting the promotion of military service or national service as a criterion for rewarding schools and staff,” said Atef Moaddi, representative of the Arab Education Committee, “and we stress that if an attempt is made to carry them out in Arab schools – the response will be refusal and civil disobedience.”

Explaining his decision, Sa’ar said that “What Israeli Arabs experienced during the [1948 War of Independence] was certainly a tragedy, but the word Nakba, whose meaning is similar to ‘Holocaust’ in this context, will no longer be used. The creation of the State of Israel cannot be referred to as a tragedy, and the education system in the Arab sector will revise its studies [regarding this] in elementary schools.”

The real problem is that there are two distinct nations in this country. “Israeli” is a meaningless term because it doesn’t distinguish them, and is simply a game of nomenclature used to cover up a problem with what seems to be a transparent sheet. There are Jews in this country, and there are Arabs in this country. Both are fighting for hegemony. Declaring what Arabs can and can’t learn in state schools will accomplish nothing but delegitimize the tactic.

Then what to do? Redefining the purpose of the State of Israel seems in order. And it seems inevitable. We all feel the clock ticking. The question is, what happens when it begins to beep?
I don’t know, but we’ll certain report it when it does.