Pedagogy of Separation: Hebrew Education and Arab Education in British Mandatory Palestine

Academic workshop at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rabin Building, Room 2001 | Mount Scopus Campus | Wednesday-Thursday, June 22-23, 2016

(cover photo: courtesy of the Israel State Archives)

The seminar will be held in Hebrew except two lectures that will be given in English (see the program)

“The existing Arab and Jewish school systems are definitely widening and will continue to widen the gulf between the [Jewish and Arab] races” (The Peel Commission Report, 1937)

The period of British rule over Palestine, saw the emergence and crystallization of two national movements: the Zionist movement and the Arab-Palestinian movement. During that period, two distinct education systems, an Arab one and a Hebrew one, served as central agents of social mobilization and helped to shape the national and cultural identity of these two communities. The two education systems were by and large completely separate ̶ not only physically but also conceptually. The framing of the workshop and our debate, therefore, will be this very separation, its features and consequences.  The workshop will focus on the way the relationship between these two national communities was reflected in their respective pedagogic systems as well as in the development of pedagogic thought. The participants will discuss these topics and try to deal with several questions, among them: How were the different and contradicting visions echoed in the curriculum? How and to what extent did the two separate education systems, and the different types of knowledge produced, contribute to the actual separation between the communities? How the main ideological, political and physical features of separation embodied in the education system? Finally, what were the main alternatives that challenged this separation and called for a different type of education, including a joint Jewish-Arab option?

Wednesday, June 22

18:00 Opening Panel

Greetings: Yfaat Weiss, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Chair and Discussant: Jonathan Furas, Tel Aviv University

Prof. Jonathan Gribetz, Princeton University

Defining Neighbors in Palestine-Israel: Before and After the Mandate (lecture in English)

In the Zionist-Arab encounter, how has each side sought to learn about the other? What sources have they used and how have these exercises in learning, understanding, and interpreting informed the political developments of the encounter and conflict? Drawing on his studies of mutual perceptions in the late Ottoman period and on his current work on the Palestine Liberation Organization, Jonathan Gribetz, assistant professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, will offer broader reflections on these questions and suggestions for future research directions in the study of learning (and especially of learning about an/the other) in British Mandate Palestine.

Thursday, June 23

09:00  Arrival and registration

09:30-11:00 Neighbors’ Relations: An Overview of British Mandate Palestine

Chair and Discussant: Hillel Cohen, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Speakers: Menachem Klein (Bar-Ilan University), Elia Etkin (Tel Aviv University), Mahmoud Yazbak (University of Haifa)

11:30-13:00 Pedagogy and Nationalism: The Arab and Hebrew Education Systems in British Mandate Palestine

Chair: Gish Amit (Bialik-Rogozin School, Tel Aviv)

Speakers: Itamar Radai (Tel Aviv University), Miriam Szamet (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Hanan Harif (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

14:30-16:00: The Study of Arabic in the Hebrew Education System in British Mandate Palestine

Chair: Liat Kozma (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Speakers: Yonatan Mendel (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Aviv Derri (New York University), Amit Levy (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

16:30-18:00: Training and Explaining:  The British Mandate between the Rivals

Chair: Ami Ayalon (Tel Aviv University)

Speakers: Walid Abd El Gawad (Leipzig University) – Lecture in English, Jonathan Furas (Tel Aviv University), Boaz Lev-Tov (Beit Berl Academic College)