Schools to Teach History of Gaza Settlements, From Settlers' Perspective

The Education Ministry approved the initiative as part of Gush Katif Day, marked Monday.

Some 400 schools will today teach the history of the former Gaza settlement bloc of Gush Katif from the perspective of the settlers evacuated during 2005, as part of a program initiated by a committee representing the former residents of Gush Katif.

The educational initiative was approved by the Education Ministry's religious education administration as part of Gush Katif Day, which takes place today. The day was set in a 2008 law determining that the Hebrew date of 22 Shevat, the day on which the Gush Katif settlement of Netzer Hazani was established, would become Gush Katif Day.

Other planned activities include inviting former Gush Katif residents to speak to students and holding assemblies.

"Our primary objective is to talk about settlement in the Gush, and less about the uprooting and what is happening today to the uprooted, although those subjects will also be mentioned," said Orit Berger, who coordinated the project for the Gush Katif Committee. "We are focusing on the human story and less on the political issue. It's important to us that the children know about the settlements in Gush Katif, even if we are no longer there."

About 90 percent of the schools marking Gush Katif Day are state-run religious schools, and some pre-military academies will also be marking the day, Berger said.

A Gush Katif Committee ceremony proposal describes the disengagement by saying: "With the government decision to uproot Gush Katif and hand over a flourishing region to the Arabs, a mighty struggle of those loyal to the Land of Israel, headed by the people of Gush Katif, was implemented. Through popular and democratic means of struggle ... the people of the Gush tried to show the moral dangers of the uprooting, but the government of Israel decided otherwise."