A new academic curriculum for universities in the country’s largest city, Nablus, has been approved by the government, in a move aimed at promoting tolerance in the wake of the mass murder of more than 1,100 Jews in the town.
The curriculum is to be introduced in March 2019, and includes lessons on the Holocaust and Holocaust-related topics, as well as the issue of “Jewishness in the Palestinian territories.”
“The aim is to show tolerance and understanding, and it should also be about the Holocaust as a collective tragedy, as it is in other parts of the world,” Nablu University president Dr. Ephraim Zalman told The Jerusalem Report on Thursday.
The new curriculum was launched after the Israeli government passed a law in December 2015 banning public discussion of the Holocaust in public schools.
The law had also banned teaching the Holocaust on the university campus.
A law that bans public discussion about the history of the Jewish people was signed by then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and included a provision that made it illegal to teach the Holocaust to students at universities.
The law was approved by a parliamentary majority in January 2016 and took effect on March 20, 2016.
The university’s curriculum includes lessons about the holocaust and its causes, as they relate to Jewish people and culture, Zalmann said.
The students are to be able to discuss their studies and also learn about Holocaust and the Holocaust-inspired events in their own lives, he said.
The course will be taught in English, Hebrew, and Arabic.
Students at the university will also be taught about the plight of Jews during the Holocaust, and the lessons will cover the history and circumstances of the conflict, Zavman said.
According to the law, a student who is suspected of having engaged in Holocaust denial or “denial of the holohoax” can face a fine of up to 3,000 shekels ($867).
The law stipulates that such a person is barred from holding public office or teaching at universities for two years after being convicted.
The Holocaust is a controversial subject, with many claiming it has no place in modern-day Israel, where it is illegal to hold public office.