This April, Yad Vashem hosted a seminar for history teachers from Arab communities in Israel. The seminar brought together over 140 teachers from across the country, who were welcomed by Yad Vashem's Director General Nathan Eitan and representatives of the Ministry of Education: Eliraz Nachum, Head of the Humanities Branch at the Pedagogical Secretariat, and Dr. Kassem Darwoucha, Subject Inspector for History in the Arab Sector. Teachers heard a series of lectures, as well as moving testimony from Abba Naor, a Holocaust survivor from Kovno. They also were presented with resources from Yad Vashem's comprehensive Arabic website, toured the Museum Complex, and met with Dorit Novak, Director of the International School for Holocaust Studies. The seminar was the culmination of a learning program begun two years ago, led by Dr. Darwoucha. "As Holocaust studies are part of the school curriculum, we need to provide the teachers with a broad range of materials concerning the event as well as with the tools for teaching it – and, where possible, to lessen uncertainty and neutralize prejudice," said Dr. Darwoucha.
In the feedback given by the teachers at the end of the seminar, they noted that "all of
the topics covered were of crucial importance"; "our level of knowledge was enriched," and "we, as educators and teachers, are obligated to strengthen tolerance." Moreover, many of the teachers requested additional materials and teaching aids.
"The meeting between Arab teachers and the team of experts at Yad Vashem is of great
interest and relevance," summarized Novak. "The topic of the Holocaust in the Arab sector is complicated, and sometimes may give rise to mixed emotions – but a direct encounter and exploration of the content such as this opens the door to a dialogue that reaches beyond Holocaust education."