Egyptian historian protests textbook acknowledging Israel’s existence

An Egyptian historian has caused a stir in the country’s Education Ministry over a school textbook with a map acknowledging Israel’s existence. 

An Egyptian grade school geography textbook featuring an Israeli flag on a map has generated a public storm in the country.

According to a report by Israel’s Ynet, Bassam el-Shammaa, an Egyptian historian, told the local Al-Youm al-Saba’a publication that he had contacted the textbook publisher to protest the fact that an Israeli flag appears on the map.

El-Shammaa claims the publisher admitted that featuring an Israeli, rather than a Palestinian, flag was an error and that he would fix it in future editions.

The educator further suggested that the publisher send a message to libraries and schools asking them to remove the map from the books so as to “avoid this serious error,” but the publisher “believed this solution was hard to execute.”

The incident received extensive press coverage, prompting the Egyptian Education Ministry to launch an investigation into the matter.

According to Ynet’s report, Ridaa Hijari, head of the general education department, declared that action would be taken against the publisher if the investigation found that the textbook did not receive a license from the Education Ministry.

“When I learned about the issue, I turned to the office of the adviser for sociological studies and asked for a copy of the book so I could see it,” Hijari said, according to Ynet. “Then we’ll see who supervised it, who checked the book… We will also issue an instruction to pull the book from stores and bar its distribution.”

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A senior Egyptian Education Ministry official is quoted by the Egyptian Al-Masry al-Youm daily as saying that the ministry has already ordered that the problematic page be immediately removed.

The Egypt–Israel peace treaty was signed on March 26, 1979, by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and witnessed by United States president Jimmy Carter.

By: World Israel News Staff