Remember That History Textbook Banned in Israel?

During this year’s “banned books week” (that bizarre American holiday), I wrote about books, mostly Arabic, banned in Israel.

The Kuwait and Yemeni book fairs elbowed in on the censorship action, and then, smack in the middle of this crowded banned-books party, the Israeli Education Ministry was in the news for banning a dual-narrative history textbook that gave both Israeli and Arab perspectives: Learning Each Other’s Historical Narrative: Palestinians and Israelis.

The textbook, released last year, has been printed in Hebrew, Arabic, and English.

The book is still banned in Israel, and next week the principal of a school that taught with it is scheduled to appear before the education ministry to explain his actions, according to Ha’aretz.

What’s new is that apparently the textbook will be used, starting in two high schools near Jericho.

“Ramallah approved the project only after PA officials read the textbook, while in Israel the book was banned even though officials in Jerusalem did not even check its contents,” an (unnamed) official told Ha’aretz.

The textbook is the result of a joint Israeli-Palestinian-Swedish collaboration to promote coexistence through education.

You can read more about the textbook online and download segments of it in English, Hebrew, or Arabic. In fact, if you teach high school, you might consider using it in your own classroom. Each page is divided into three equal sections: The Israeli narrative is presented on the right, the Palestinian narrative on the left, and down the middle are empty lines in which the students can sketch their own thoughts.