As part of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s revolutionary goal to modernize his country, the kingdom has revamped its education system removing virtually all anti-Israel and anti-Semitic content from its school textbooks.
JNS The findings by the London office of the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) released on Tuesday are based on a review of more than 300 textbooks, including 80 for the current 2022-23 school year.
The report builds on a positive trend of changes since 2020, the year the Trump-sponsored Abraham Accords saw four Arab countries make peace with Israel. Previously, there were dozens of examples of Jew-hatred in Saudi textbooks, with entire chapters containing negative material about Israel now removed, IMPACT-se said.
An area of significant change concerns criticism of Jews in the early Islamic period, with almost all previously identified problematic examples in Islamic Studies textbooks removed from 2022-23 editions, the report found. Examples of material no longer appearing include God turning infidels into apes and pigs because they worshipped the devil, and implying that Jews are the enemies of Islam.
Times of Israel Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in an interview published Monday, recognized Israel’s right to exist and extolled the prospect of future diplomatic relations between his kingdom and the Jewish state.
In an extensive interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, Prince Mohammed laid out his vision for the future of the Middle East, including the possibility of cooperation with Israel. No such senior Saudi official is known to have previously accepted that Israel has a “right” to any land beyond the practical need to secure a lasting deal.
Asked whether he believes “the Jewish people have a right to a nation-state in at least part of their ancestral homeland,” he replied: “I believe that each people, anywhere, has a right to live in their peaceful nation. I believe the Israelis have the right to have their own land.”
Changes since last year include the removal of a lesson referring to Israel as a “falsified democracy,” and a blood libel falsely accusing Israel of setting fire to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in 1969, the report states.
Previously, lessons asserting the “Judaization” of the Al-Aqsa mosque—a mendacious claim still oft repeated by Palestinians—and teaching that the historical existence of a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem is a politically motivated fabrication—a canard promoted by the late PLO leader Yasser Arafat—were also removed.
At the same time, the textbooks censure the harmful ideologies of the Hezbollah and Houthi terrorist groups. The Muslim Brotherhood is a particular target of criticism. Peace and tolerance are promoted, while almost all examples of violent jihad have been removed, continuing a trend from last year, the institute reports.
Peace and tolerance are promoted, while almost all examples of violent jihad have been removed, continuing a trend from last year, the institute reports.
“While all textbook reform is important, Saudi Arabian textbooks are particularly consequential. Kudos is due to the Saudi government for this multi-year and systematic removal of Jew-hate and moderation of content on Israel in the textbooks of over six million Saudi children, and of many more who study the textbooks outside of Saudi Arabia.”
The continuing improvement in the Saudis’ depiction of Israel and the Jews in their textbooks comes as talks to normalize bilateral ties intensify. (But, of course, as former President Obama said, “Never underestimate Joe Biden’s ability to f*ck things up”)