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2 - The Holocaust in Israeli Textbooks

Death and Deliverance

from Part I - The Textbook of Memory

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 May 2021

Grace Wermenbol
Affiliation:
Middle East Institute
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Summary

Chapter 2’s analysis of fifteen textbooks published since 1993 for Israeli middle and high-school students demonstrates that an exclusive presentation of the Holocaust in the curriculum has relied on the explicit portrayal of the Holocaust as a uniquely Jewish tragedy with universal relevance to the entire Jewish nation and, therefore, pertinent to every Israeli-Jewish youth. Simultaneously, the overt minimization of other groups’ suffering as a result of Nazi genocidal policies is deemphasized through the conveyance of anachronistic historical information and the usage of numerical aggregation practices. The chapter’s identified Zionist metanarrative lays the foundations for further exclusionary manifestations, namely the minimization of Palestinians’ fate in the 1948 War. Textbooks that illustrate a teleological movement from the center(s) of Jewish destruction, “there” in the galut (Hebrew: exile), to revival “here” in Israel, advocate a post-Holocaust justification for the Zionist enterprise and, consequently, necessitate an untainted recovery from the preceding crisis. By differentiating between Zionist, Zionist-critical, and revisionist narratives of the war, the chapter’s secondary analysis illustrates that while new historiographical writings on the 1948 War have emerged, the beneficial and practical effects of the mass Palestinian exodus are stressed in textbooks. In line with this narrative, a systematic policy of expulsion is firmly cast aside and, instead, overt reminders of traditional Zionist historiography formulating a miraculous rebirth remain.

Type
Chapter
Information
A Tale of Two Narratives
The Holocaust, the Nakba, and the Israeli-Palestinian Battle of Memories
, pp. 77 - 117
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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