The memory of the dead must not be turned into a defining element of national identity.
A new Education Ministry program – details of which are reported by Or Kashti in today’s Haaretz English edition – that would have Israeli junior high and high school students adopt memorial sites and soldiers’ graves, is flawed and unnecessary. It is certainly appropriate for schools to teach students about exemplary figures who gave their lives for their country and about acts of heroism on the battlefield, but there is no need in this context to send students to tend gravesites.
The Israeli education system has trouble imparting sufficient knowledge to its students in many subjects. Perhaps the heritage of heroism and sacrifice in battle is one of them, but it is doubtful that it is an essential topic. Battlefield heritage should be taught first and foremost in the Israel Defense Forces. Schools should concentrate on imparting knowledge and values, both national and universal. Adoration of the dead, heroic and exalted as they may have been, is a death cult and not the heritage of life Read more.