In another sign of warming ties, Saudi Arabia removes ‘practically all antisemitism’ from textbooks – report

An entire chapter containing harmful material about Israel had been removed from a core social studies textbook.

By World Israel News Staff

Saudi Arabia has removed “practically all antisemitism” from school textbooks, according to a report released Tuesday by education watchdog Impact-se.

Since its last review of the Saudi curricula in 2019, Impact-se also found positive changes in the depiction of Israel and Zionism, citing one social studies textbook in which an entire chapter containing harmful material about Israel had been removed.

One textbook chapter heading on Israel’s pre-state history was changed from “The Attempt to Create the Zionist Entity” to “British Mandate in Palestine.”

“Highly inflammatory hadiths and texts” have been removed from textbooks, as have statements condemning homosexuals, infidels, and Christians, the report said.

Nonetheless, the report notes, problematic examples remain: a first-grade textbook teaches that “any other religion [than Islam] is false,” and another describes atheists as “souls that the devil has taken over.”

Zionism is still described as a “Jewish racist political movement” that “aims to expel the Palestinian people and establish a Jewish state by force,”

“Practically all the previously identified antisemitic material in Saudi Islamic Studies textbooks has now been removed,” the group’s CEO Marcus Sheff said in a statement. “This follows the previous removal of significant amounts of antisemitism in other subjects over the last four years. While all textbook reform is important, Saudi Arabian textbooks are particularly consequential. Kudos is due to the Saudi government for this multi-year and systematic removal of Jew hate and moderation of content on Israel in the textbooks of over six million Saudi children, and of many more who study the textbooks outside of Saudi Arabia.”

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The changes come amid warming ties between Israel and the Gulf Kingdom, as well as a wide-sweeping education reform by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Sultan.