September 15, 2019

Israeli Schools to Teach About fate of North African Jews in the Holocaust

A Jewish mother and her children are photographed outside a synagogue in Djerba, Tunisia, Jan. 1, 1950. Some 850,000 refugees from Tunisia and other Arab countries were expelled from their countries after the creation of Israel. (Graphic House/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel has reinstated study of the Holocaust as part of a mandatory schools curriculum that will include the persecution of North African Jewry under the Nazis.

The Holocaust was removed four years as part of the mandatory program of study by former Education Minister Shai Piron, though teachers were allowed to assign the Holocaust as a research project. Academics and history teachers publicly criticized the move.

Former Education Minister Naftali Bennett reinstated the Holocaust as a mandatory subject shorty before he was fired from his position in early June by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Ynet reported.

Netanyahu’s current pick for Education Minister, Rabbi Rafi Peretz, decided to include in the curriculum the experience of North African, or Mizrahi, Jews during the Holocaust.

The material will be studied in the 12th grade and will be part of the national matriculation exam, Ynet reported.

“For years, the story of Jews living in Muslim countries under the Nazi occupation has been absent from our discourse,” Peretz said in a statement. “The painful stories of thousands of Jews who were sent to concentration camps and forced to participate in the death marches.”