Olmert Backs Tamir's Proposal to Include Green Line in Textbook Maps

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said yesterday he has spoken with Education Minister Yuli Tamir regarding her proposal to include the pre-1967 boundary, or Green Line, in maps that appear in school textbooks. Many MKs have sharply criticized Tamir's recommendation.

"There is nothing wrong with marking the Green Line," Olmert said. "But there is an obligation to emphasize that the government's position and public consensus rule out returning to the 1967 lines."

The Likud faction introduced a no-confidence motion to the Knesset yesterday over Tamir's proposal, charging the minister with introducing politically-motivated changes to the national curriculum in line with what they called her extreme leftist ideology. They added that the proposal ignores Israeli law, including the Jerusalem Law and Golan Heights Law.

National Religious Party-National Union Chairman Zevulun Orlev called on Olmert to "block the Peace Now policy in the Education Ministry, which is being dictated in a callous manner by the education minister." Orlev said Peace Now's agenda is also evident in Tamir's decision to cancel funding for Jewish education in Russia, as well as her support for public schools to mark Nakba Day.

Former education minister MK Yitzhak Levy (NRP-National Union) also accused Tamir of trying to impose her political views on Israel's citizens through the education system.

NRP-National Union MK Uri Ariel called on Tamir to mark north Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Acre, and Haifa as disputed territory as well, saying those cities are also claimed by the Palestinians as part of a future state.

Former Education Ministry director general MK Ronit Tirosh (Kadima) harshly criticized Tamir, saying her decision was political and oversteps her authority. Tirosh said Tamir cannot make a decision with such far-reaching political and diplomatic implications, and called on Olmert not to implement the suggested changes.

Kadima MK Otniel Schneller said it appears the education minister has crossed the line, and called on her to start redrawing the faltering education system before dealing with Israel's borders. He said Tamir is touching a most sensitive issue in a callous manner, with the intent of creating an additional rift in Israeli society. Likud MK Michael Eitan said the curriculum should also include former education minister Abba Eban's comments calling the Green Line "Holocaust borders."

Meretz MK Avshalom Vilan was the only MK to publicly support the education minister. He said the Green Line was never erased, adding that the right is making a mountain out of a mole hill. Vilan called the marking of the Green Line elementary, and said the pre-1967 boundary would most likely serve as the basis for any peace agreement with the Palestinians.

'War against the Holy One'

An organization of rabbis that is identified, among other things, with part of the Chabad movement yesterday issued a Halakhic ruling forbidding students from using "Education Minister Yuli Tamir's new textbooks."

"Education Minister Yuli Tamir has, through her actions, declared an open war against the Holy One, blessed be He, and against the Land of Israel," the rabbis said in their ruling. "The education minister has joined the enemies of Israel that have fought against the nation of Israel over the generations."

Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolfa, who proposed the ruling, said a manifest on behalf of the rabbis forbidding the use of the textbooks will be sent to all school principals, because the books "serve Hamas and Israel's enemies."

"Education Minister Yuli Tamir must remember what happened to Ariel Sharon, who also hurt the settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza," Wolfa added.

The rabbis called on Tamir to freeze her ruling, which they said will bring disaster to Israel.

Kiryat Motzkin Chief Rabbi David Druckman, a member of the organization that issued the ruling, said that from a Halakhic standpoint, the new textbooks are heresy. "The fate of those who tear off parts of the Land of Israel is like the fate of those who tear off parts of the Torah of Israel," he said. "One must not study from these books nor should one have them at home."