The United Nations aid agency for Palestinians said it is “taking steps” to address the glorification of “martyrs” and calls for “jihad” in books it handed out to students.
UNRWA made the statements Thursday following a report published a day earlier by the Jerusalem-based Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School, or IMPACT-se, saying the books went to hundreds of thousands of students in the Palestinian Authority and Gaza. Many seem to be based on Palestinian Authority resources. Some mislabel Israel as “Palestine” or erase the country from maps of the Middle East.
One Arabic grammar booklet features phrases like “Jihad is one of the doors to Paradise.” Another reads that “The Palestinians are lions in fighting the enemies.” One book has a poem about how “a raging fire awaits the Occupation,” while another states that “The motherland is worthy of any kind of sacrifice” and “the Enemy [committed] heinous offences against … the mujahideen,” Arabic for anyone fighting a jihad, or holy war.
A ninth-grade social studies booklet accuses Israel of deliberately polluting Palestinian territories and spreading disease by dumping radioactive and toxic waste, the report said.
UNRWA spokeswoman Tamara Alrifai told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that these and other texts were “not in line with U.N. values” and “mistakenly included” as the agency rushed to supply students teaching aids during the COVID-19 lockdown. Alrifai also said that UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, will shortly launch a “self-learning platform.”
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.