In early September, the new school year began for students in the Gaza Strip. The new year brings one major change to the curriculum of Gaza’s High Schools: For the first time in almost 20 years, students can now sign up for a Hebrew class that is taught as part of a course called “Know Your Enemy”. The idea behind this new course is for Gaza’s youth to learn Hebrew in order to understand the structure of Israeli society and learn how Israelis think so they can fight Israel more efficiently.
“We look at Israel as an enemy. We teach our students the language of the enemy.” - Mahmoud Matar, director general of Hamas’ Ministry of Education
Hamas has always used its schools to indoctrinate the children of the Gaza Strip with the ideology of radical Islam. Many of Gaza’s schools are named after notorious terrorists such as Adnan al Ghoul, who was a top-ranking member of the Ezzedeen al-Qassam Brigades. Al-Ghoul, who is known as the father of the Qassam rocket, was one of the masterminds behind both the Beit Lid massacre and the Dizengoff Center suicide bombing, which killed a total of 34 Israelis and wounded almost 200 more.
Dr. Eldad Pardo, a senior researcher at IMPACT-SE, explains the major difference between the educational systems of Israel and Hamas.
“Palestinian schoolchildren learn that Jews have no connection to the land of Israel, that Jews belong to Europe. These textbooks say nothing about the Jews from Arab countries[...]. There is no recognition of Jewish people as a nation. Israelis are depicted as criminals and thieves…”
Israel’s approach to the conflict is very different according to Pardo. “In the Israeli education system, there is much respect for Arab culture, recognition that Palestinians have a national movement and respect for holy Muslim sites,” he said. “Students also learn Arabic in schools.”
Read more about Hamas’ indoctrination of children: