Religious Schools' Lesson Plan on Rabin Assassination Skips the Incitement Factor

Lesson plan for third through sixth graders says Rabin's 'agreement with the Arabs' stirred disagreements, but aftermath of his murder bred division 'that turned into unity'

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Youth gather at the Tel Aviv site of the murder of Prime Minister Yitzhaq Rabin, a year after his assassination, October 24, 1996.
Youth gather at the Tel Aviv site of the murder of Prime Minister Yitzhaq Rabin, a year after his assassination, October 24, 1996.Credit: NATI HARNIK / Associated Press

The Education Ministry’s Religious Education Administration published an official lesson plan for the 25th anniversary of the murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, which does not mention the incitement that led to the assassination or the identity of the murderer, Yigal Amir.

The lesson plan, aimed at grades 3 to 6, was posted on the administration’s website. It states that Rabin “brought about an agreement with the Arabs that generated a great argument among the people. There were those who thought the agreement would bring peace, and there were those who thought it would bring war.”

Immediately afterward it states, “Rabin’s murder caused a frightful split in the nation, baseless hatred, and accusations between the various camps. It was a truly dark period.” But, according to the lesson plan, “While after the murder there was division, after a time it turned into unity. People understood that there was no other way – that you have to talk, examine, bring people closer and get closer to them.”

The title of the lesson plan is “Crisis as Opportunity” – the topic chosen this year by the Education Ministry to be addressed by all schools. On the main Education Ministry website there is a small summary about the murder and the public atmosphere that led to it.

The Education Ministry website each year uploads official lesson plans written by the Yitzhak Rabin Center in conjunction with the ministry. Often the lesson plans from the Rabin Center aimed at state schools also describe the assassination in very general terms.

In last year’s lesson plan, aside from one sentence at the beginning of the lesson (“The prime minister was shot in the back by a Jewish assassin who opposed the diplomatic moves, first and foremost the Oslo Accords, that Rabin sought to advance”), there was no mention of the actual murder or the historical circumstances connected to it.

“This is a day on which we are supposed to think about democracy, but these plans deal with vague areas like ‘mutual responsibility,’ [and] ‘love of the land,’” Dr. Tami Hoffman of the Israel Democracy Institute and the Seminar Hakibbutzim Teachers College told Haaretz last year. “These are worthy and good topics, but we don’t need Rabin’s memorial day to deal with them.”

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