A May 15 letter sent by the Israeli Education Ministry’s pedagogic administration to school principals throughout the country announced that “50 Years of a Unified Jerusalem” will be the theme of the upcoming school year, which starts Sept. 1. The heads of the educational institutions were informed that they will have at their disposal a “program to deepen the students’ affinity and connection to Jerusalem.” The letter stated, “The program is designed for the country’s entire student body” with “certain adaptations for the unique characteristics of various population groups.” It would be interesting to know how the program is being adapted for Arab students who are Israeli citizens. Even more interesting would be the “unique adaptation” for the school children of the annexed Shuafat refugee camp.
The government was quick two years ago in forming a steering committee composed of representatives of government agencies and the Jerusalem municipality to prepare 50th-anniversary celebrations for the unification of Jewish West Jerusalem and Palestinian East Jerusalem. On Aug. 11, the Cabinet approved the recommendation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also communications minister, to issue a stamp denoting the 50th anniversary of the unification of Jerusalem and a stamp marking 50 years of Jewish settlement in the Golan Heights and in the Jordan Valley and Judea and Samaria. The Jerusalem municipality, the Yesha Council (settler umbrella organization), the settlements and wealthy right-wing organizations such as Elad, which effectively controls the eastern part of Jerusalem’s Holy Basin, are already in the throes of preparations. The leadership of the Labor Party, whose past leaders initiated the 1967 annexation of Jerusalem and established the first West Bank settlements, will surely be guests of honor at the celebrations.