A primer for the civics matriculation (bagrut ) exam that was administered Monday suggested as an answer to a practice question that "the association of Jewish girls with Arabs is liable to undermine their right to life and security."
The book, published by Reches Educational Projects, is one of many such volumes pupils use to prepare for the exams. These primers are popular because they review specific topics that the Education Ministry has announced will be tested in a given subject.
In this volume there is a sample question that presents the following topic for pupils to address:
"A recently published letter, written by the wives of rabbis, calls on Jewish girls to keep their distance from Arabs. There are those who support this letter, while there are others who argue that the letter is improper."
The pupils are asked to express their opinion on the issue and back their opinion up with two arguments based on concepts in civics.
As part of a correct answer in support of the letter, the book suggests the following argument: "Jewish girls associating with Arabs is liable to lead to romantic relationships and even to marriage. This assimilation of Jewish girls with members of the Arab minority will undermine the preservation of a Jewish majority in the State of Israel."
As a second argument it suggests: "Jewish girls associating with Arabs is liable to endanger their safety for nationalist reasons, and is liable to undermine their right to life and security."
Privately published bagrut primers do not have the approval of the Education Ministry, but nevertheless they often find their way into the classroom as study and teaching aids.
A civics coordinator for Arab schools in the Galilee Triangle region called the sample question and answer "An insult to the whole subject of civics. This is clear incitement against us, Arab citizens, who in civics classes teach coexistence with Jews."
Keren Stein, one of the primer's authors, said that the answers in the book were "samples whose sole intention was to demonstrate how to write an argument; there was no intent to insult any population in Israel."