Sunday, January 03, 2016

Haaretz Watch - Friday Jan. 1, 2016

Friday's weekend Haaretz offers insight into what animates Israel's left -- and it is not liberalism.

The top story is an attack on Education Minister Naftali Bennett's decision to remove an Arab-Jewish Romeo and Juliet love story from the high school reading list. 

Personally, I have no strong feelings on the issue. 

But the paper's shrill treatment of the issue –claiming that the book is being banned – seems way out of proportion to me. There are lots of local school system's that make decisions about what is and what is not appropriate reading for teens.

And, need it be said -- no Muslim school (though funded by the State of Israel) would allow the book in question to be on its reading list.

The non-liberal left is no less upset that Bennett wants to push for a minimal level of Jewish literacy among students in the secular school system.

It is tragic that parents must decide, when their children enter first grade, whether they will get an Orthodox education or one almost entirely bereft of Jewish literacy. Either/Or.

Why can't the focus for all be on Jewish civilization with modules that would familiarize students with Jewish prayer, ritual, and tradition? Why should not every Israeli Jewish child become familiar with the canon? With how Judaism is practiced in the Diaspora?

David Ben-Gurion knew his bible as well as any rabbi. Did that make him any less left?  Why do people of the left these days disdain Jewish literacy?  Why not enable students to understand Jewish civilization so that they can make informed choices?

Paradoxically, Haaretz's other Big Story on page 1 Friday was headlined: "And Then the Boarder Police Raked My Wife's Car with Bullets." 

Readers familiar with Gideon Levy's byline could roll their eyes and turn the page. 

But what about innocent readers (especially those who see the paper in English and on the web) who might misconstrue Levy's unlabeled page one dropping for news? 

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