For much of Israel’s history, the majority of its Jewish citizens were either oblivious to the Nakba, the massive dispossession of the Palestinians in 1948, or excused it as an unfortunate moment necessary for their nation’s survival.
Those assumptions became less tenable through the 1990s as a new generation of Israeli historians conclusively exploded the many Zionist myths surrounding the events of 1948. Most importantly, they showed that the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees had not left because they were ordered to do so by the surrounding Arab states but because Israel had terrorised or expelled them from their homes…
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More recently still, the Israeli Jewish organisation Zochrot (“Remembering” in Hebrew) has started to take Israeli Jews to visit the destroyed villages and meet internal refugees. It has also created a Nakba education kit for schools, and encouraged elderly Jews involved in the war crimes of 1948 to tell their stories. A few, more open-minded Israeli scholars have separately tried get the Nakba into the school curriculum and textbooks.
The response from Israeli officials has grown increasingly harsh in recent years. The textbooks have been banned and in 2011 Israel passed the Nakba Law, which deprives institutions, including schools and libaries, of public funding should they include commemoration of the Nakba in any form.
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