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Israeli education ministry censors Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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On March 17, the following note appeared on the Promised Land blog:

And this also happened this week: the office of the minister of education forbade distributing a booklet for kids about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, because it didn’t like two articles in the declaration, as well as some of the illustration in the booklet.

The relevant link was to an article in Hebrew. I asked Noam which two articles had been specified, and he replied that the article implied Article 14 and Article 18. These two articles are as follows:

"Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution." (Article 14)

"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance." (Article 18)

But apart from that Hebrew language piece, there is also a translated version of the story available here. Here is an extract:

The Ariel municipality decided to buy hundreds of copies of the book to distribute them as a gift to kindergarten children. But after the Education Ministry’s intervention, the books were returned, even though they had already been bought with money and a message from the municipality pasted in them. This is because the Education Ministry inspectors from the state religious department did not like two illustrations and two sections of the declaration, and decided to disqualify the book…

Mayor Ron Nahman said, “it is positive and good to hand out a book about children’s rights. But our attention was drawn to two sentences that are not exactly what we teach the children. The Education Ministry said this was wrong and we accepted its decision.”

Ben White
About Ben White

Ben White is author of 'Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner's Guide' and 'Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, discrimination and democracy'. Follow him on twitter at @benabyad and on his website

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