Arts, Culture & Media

Israel's 60th anniversary

Israel's independence is closely linked to its armed forces; it's been at war with one or all of its neighboring states since the day it declared independence in 1948. The heroes of independence is part of the education curriculum being taught in schools all across the country. This teacher at a junior high in West Jerusalem asks her students why the founding fathers of Israel agreed to a United Nations plan that split Palestine between Jews and Arabs. Right away the debate begins. Some students say the founders were right to take what they could get, while others say they should've held out for more. This debate is reflective of those who believe Israel should strive for peace with the Palestinians and those who think Jews and entitled to all of the West Bank. Then she asks her students for any other names of the independence; and the students come up with �The Catastrophe,� which is how the Palestinians refer to it. In a schoolyard outside, one student says the lessons of the 1948 independence are important. Only a dozen miles away, history class is quite different. Many teachers still stress the right for Palestinians to return to their homes in Israel. This 17 year old says he'd like to see even more focus on �The Catastrophe� in text books. Just like the Israeli students, she says she feels the same issues still dominate her life. She feels the prospects for a happy ending are not good.

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