Israel’s Ministry of Education is pulling copies of a high-school history textbook off bookshelves because of concerns over its previously approved content—in particular, Palestinian views on Israel’s War of Independence, Haaretz reports. The textbook was approved by the ministry prior to the appointment of its current chief, Gideon Sa’ar, in March. When it was published two months ago, Haaretz reported that it was the first Israeli textbook to use the term “ethnic cleansing” with respect to the eviction of Palestinians from Israel in 1948; that prompted the ministry to take another look, the paper said.
A chapter on the war currently states: “The Palestinians and the Arab countries contended that most of the refugees were civilians who were attacked and expelled from their homes by armed Jewish forces, which instituted a policy of ethnic cleansing, contrary to the proclamations of peace in the Declaration of Independence.” It also includes the Israeli perspective on the same events. A Ministry of Education spokesman said that “a great many mistakes, some of them serious” had been found in the book and would need to be corrected before it could be returned to the shelves; a history teacher who’d complained about the book told Haaretz, more bluntly, that “presenting Israel’s claims as being equal to those of Arab propagandists is exactly like presenting the claims of the Nazis alongside those of the Jews.”