Welcome, Kids, to the First Day of Becoming Israel-loving Dolts

Our state does not need teachers. It needs agents, and on the cheap. You too, children, will become agents.

On Thursday, for the first time in your life, your mother, father or both will take you to school. That day is unforgettable. I for instance remember the teacher Yehudit who greeted us 62 years ago. I even remember her dress, striped in pink and white. My son, I discovered, hasn’t forgotten his first teacher, Atara. They taught us, each in his generation, the most important thing one learns at school: to read and write. We arrive illiterate and after a semester or two, thanks to the teacher, we can read and write. Even though reading and writing have become part of an industry in which it isn’t clear whether today’s children texting with both thumbs on their smartphones in broken language are slaves or just prisoners, this moment is a precious one. What comes afterwards doesn’t matter. What does really matter won’t be there.
Did you like to draw in preschool? The state doesn’t need your imagination. It will therefore crush it through decoration: lulavs (palm fronds), the Patriarch Moses, tanks, Hanukkah menorahs, the seven species of Sukkot and, of course, the Israeli flag. Red skies, yellow sea, blue-eyed dogs, cats with serpentine tails – that, no. And you don’t get to see Degas, or Soutine, or Moshe Gershuni or Tamar Getter. It isn’t that there aren’t any art teachers. There are tons of art teachers. It’s that the state simply doesn’t want them.
If your family hoped that school would teach you to play music, they were mistaken, naive. Music is only for children whose parents can pay. And you won’t ever just listen quietly to music, and won’t sing in three voices or even two. There are music teachers. Lots of them. But who needs them? Learn the holiday songs – that, yes. On Rosh Hashanah sing some stupid song for Rosh Hashanah, during Sukkot sing Sukkot songs, during Hanukkah sing Hanukkah songs, the teacher singing loudly and you quietly, until you learn to yell. And “Hatikva,” of course (the Jewish anthem, once sung with a lot of hope). Nothing beautiful will come of this. Our state does not like beauty.
Nor does it need teachers. It needs agents, and on the cheap. You too, children, will become agents by virtue of reading and writing. That is the worm in the apple: The state teaches reading and in exchange one has to read its texts. And when you learn literature you will read again, like in bible lessons, like in nature class and in geography lessons, the same thing. The separate strands will wrap around and together thread the budding Zionist.
You will read all the texts, each year, and the principal will bang on about the heroes and the victims – you. Always. In every lesson. And what the soldiers did in the night to the children of the refugee camps on the West Bank? You will not know that.
From time to time your parents will hear on the news how the ultra-Orthodox children aren’t being required to take core studies. They will be angry, but also feel pride. “What are core studies, Daddy?” “What we learn, and they don’t!” But everything you will learn after the reading and writing can be learned in the last three months of high school in 12 years’ time. What cannot be learned in three months is this patriotic thing – to declaim slogans, to be blind and deaf to human suffering, to be a trooper.
Here is another part of the deal: School is a storage space where you are held for 12 years because your parents have to go to work. The price of storage – patriotic cultivation. It is for that that you will be entering the gates of school on Thursday, to turn into dolts and to love the state that has made this land ugly.
Yet this moment, when you enter the school, is entirely one of hope. Here is the world, very soon it will become explicated in written words, it can be read in one way or another. And possibly even changed.

Yitzhak Laor
Haaretz Contributor

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.739439

Schermata 2016 08 31 alle 09.33.12

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The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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