Saudi textbooks call Jews 'monkeys,' espouse Israeli expansionist plot

Study finds that despite recent hints of imminent breakthrough in Jerusalem-Riyadh ties, the kingdom's educational material still teaches that Zionists are enemies of Islam, refuses to use Israel's name, with some even saying it is religious duty to kill Jewish people
Daniel Salami|
Despite recent suggestions that relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia are warming, students in the kingdom are still being taught that Israel is the "Zionist enemy," Jews are monkeys, and that the country is in fact plotting to expand its borders to reach from the River Nile to the River Euphrates.
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  • The study material appears in a report published by the IMPACT-se, the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education, which analyzes the contents of Saudi textbooks for the 2019-2020 academic year, as compared to the content for previous years.
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    נשיא ארה"ב דונלד טראמפ עם יורש העצר של סעודיה מוחמד בן סלמאן ועידה G20 אוסקה יפן
    נשיא ארה"ב דונלד טראמפ עם יורש העצר של סעודיה מוחמד בן סלמאן ועידה G20 אוסקה יפן
    U.S. President Donald Trump with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman
    (Photo: Reuters)
    The comprehensive study surveyed close to 200 textbooks used by first-graders and paints a rather bleak picture, despite the public statements about Israel ties and the U.S. peace plan.
    The study also examined how the textbooks relate to LGBT, women, Iran and Turkey, Christianity, the West and more, in what is the first comprehensive study of all Saudi textbooks published in the last decade.
    Saudi students are taught that Zionists are the enemies of Islam and that the Zionist movement is racist.
    Israel is blamed among other things for harming Islam, but the country's actual name is not even mentioned and instead it is referred to as "the Zionist enemy."
    Some of the books also mention that it is a religious duty to kill Jews.
    One textbook for high school students has a page describing "Fighting the Jews", which includes a quote from the Hadith (sayings of Mohammed):
    "Judgment Day will not come before the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Jews will hide behind the rocks and the trees, but the rocks and the trees will say: Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him…"
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    השלם את החסר: כיצד התנועה הציונית עשתה שימוש בכל אחד מהאלמנטים הרשומים בטבלה על מנת להשיג את מטרותיה ולממש את תוכניותיה
    השלם את החסר: כיצד התנועה הציונית עשתה שימוש בכל אחד מהאלמנטים הרשומים בטבלה על מנת להשיג את מטרותיה ולממש את תוכניותיה
    Saudi schoolchildren are asked to complete a table detailing how Israel uses various issues 'to achieve its goals and fulfill its plans'
    In another textbook, students are asked to complete a table that has five sections: money; politics; women; drugs and communication.
    In each section, students are asked to explain "how the Zionist movement used this issue to achieve its goals and fulfill its plans."
    One of the textbooks presents the map of the Middle East, with Palestine at the center and no mention of the State of Israel.
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    אין ישראל, יש "פלסטין"
    אין ישראל, יש "פלסטין"
    A Saudi textbook omits Israel from a map of the region
    Saudi students are also taught a slanted perspective on the Temple Mount, which is holy to Jews as the site of the former Jewish temples and to Muslims as the place where Mohammed ascended to heaven and where a mosque stands today.
    "The Jewish occupation is working night and day to demolish Al-Aqsa Mosque or burn it and damage it," students are taught.
    According to the curriculum, the Jews claim that "Temple of Solomon" is under the Al-Aqsa mosque, but this is a lie that is part of efforts to destroy the mosque.
    "Researchers have shown that there is no single piece of evidence of the temple, but there are Muslim archaeological finds. Zionists consider [re]building the temple an important issue, and the demolition of the Al-Aqsa Mosque is one of their primary goals," says a Saudi textbook.
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    ניסיונות היהודים להרוס את מסגד אל אקצא ולבנות את בית המקדש
    ניסיונות היהודים להרוס את מסגד אל אקצא ולבנות את בית המקדש
    A Saudi textbook teaching that Israel plans to demolish the Al-Aqsa Mosque
    The study also shows that the Saudi hostility towards the Islamic Republic is reflected in teaching material.
    In recent editions, textbooks present Iran as a more radical element, whereas previous versions have included information on Persian influence on the Arabian Peninsula. The latest textbooks also display some hostility towards Turkey, which has tense relations with Saudi Arabia.
    The significant changes in the way in which women are viewed in the kingdom has made its way to textbooks, with some even discussing women being able to drive, something that was only permitted last year.
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    שוויון מגדרי - לא בבית ספרנו
    שוויון מגדרי - לא בבית ספרנו
    A cartoon of Saudi children discussing their dreams for the future
    Furthermore, one of the books shows a Saudi boy and a Saudi girl next to a map of the country.
    "I'm Saudi, love my nation, work hard, honestly and directly, and God watches my actions," the boy says.
    The girl on the other hand says: "I'm Saudi, I will be a respected doctor and I will make new medical discoveries. My country is wonderful."
    Despite these changes, there is no shift in the way in which Saudi textbooks refer to the LGBT community. While some of the textbooks merely accuse gay men of spreading STDs, others even call for "punishing them with a death sentence."
    The textbooks teach that people should not be called homosexual as it hurts their dignity and tells students to avoid wearing clothes belonging to the opposite gender, even as a joke.
    "Homosexuality is an ugly crime and a sin that must be condemned. The punishment for it is death, for both sides," one textbook reads.
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