Every so often, news of the rabid antisemitism that fills the pages of K-12 Palestinian textbooks remind us that nothing has grown milder on the other side. On the contrary, the Palestinians are openly teaching their children that killing Jews and Israelis is their sacred duty. Even the EU, not exactly the most pro-Israel body in the world, “passed a motion condemning the Palestinian Authority for drafting and teaching new violent and hatful materials using EU funding.” The motion “Deplores that problematic and hateful material in Palestinian school textbooks has still not been removed and is concerned about the continued failure to act effectively against hate speech and violence in school textbooks and especially in the newly created study cards.”
Recently, matters have deteriorated to the point where Gazan 4th graders are taught arithmetic by counting shahids—Muslims who died killing or attempting to kill infidels, namely Jews. To 10th graders, Gazan schools teach that Jihad (holy war) is every Muslim’s personal duty. I have no hope for any moderation on the part of the Palestinians.
However, I have complete confidence in our ability to change the situation regardless of the Palestinians’ intentions. Israel should work on two levels. On the material level, we should withhold funds from them and limit food supply. The “arithmetic” should be simple: If you teach your children to murder us, we will treat you like the enemy that you are.
However, this alone will not work, perhaps only in the very short term. What will work is what we do among ourselves.
The way that Palestinians relate to us reflects our relation to each other. It has always been this way, and it will always be this way. Israel prospers only when it is united. When it is divided, foes attack it and destroy the country. If we were united, the Palestinians would not even contemplate including anti-Israel materials into their textbooks since they would not harbor anti-Israel sentiments.
Therefore, on the spiritual level, we must unite our ranks. The dozens of political parties that fight against each other in the current Israeli political system reflect our internal division. We cannot have twenty parties fighting one another for the throne and groveling before our enemies in order to get their support. It only emboldens them and adds contempt to their loathing.
If we want Palestinians to stop antisemitic incitement in their schools, we must teach our own children and ourselves only to love one another. No excuses will help us.
We may not see the connection between how we relate to one another and how they relate to us, but the two are nevertheless directly connected. When we stop reasoning in order to excuse ourselves from caring about each other, and try to come closer above our differences, we will see a revolutionary change in the entire world toward us.
Loving others, especially if they are different from us, is the basic tenet of our nation, the bedrock of our peoplehood. Until we exercise it, we will not know peace.
You will find more on this topic in my books Like a Bundle of Reeds: Why unity and mutual guarantee are today’s call of the hour, and The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism, Historical facts on anti-Semitism as a reflection of Jewish social discord.