Israeli group fetes UAE for including peace praise in textbook

An Israeli non-profit that analyzes curricula in the Arab world is praising the United Arab Emirates for including a section backing an agreement to normalize ties with Israel in a sixth-grade textbook

“It is remarkable that a textbook that teaches about the UAE-Israel treaty was on the desks of schoolchildren in the Emirates just two weeks after the announcement of the agreement,” IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff says in a statement.

“The treaty is not just presented as a fact in the textbook. Students are presented with the religious, ethical and national reasons to support the agreement and employ critical thinking in completing an exercise about the importance of peace-making.”

The study quotes Muhammad Matar Al Kaabi, who heads the Emirati General Authority, as saying that the “historic” initiative to establish ties with Israel “stems from the values of our true Islamic religion” which strive towards “building bridges of cooperation.”

“Students are asked to create a presentation on the importance of peace treaties and the UAE’s role in achieving peace. The new section of the textbook also states that the UAE supports efforts towards reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinians,” the group finds.

Last week, IMPACT-se published an analysis of the UAE “Moral Education curriculum,” which is taught from grades 1-12. It showed that the young generation of Emiratis are being raised to embrace the values of tolerance and religious pluralism.

“Clearly, the citizens of a country that teaches peace-making, conflict resolution and the acceptance of the Other at school, will be more likely to embrace peace treaties signed by their leaders,” Sheff says.

Public activities and expression in the UAE is tightly controlled by the royal family, which does not allow criticism of its policies.

— Raphael Ahren

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