Arutz Sheva Israel National Radio Broadcast on August 18, 1999 / Elul 6, 5759
THEY'RE CHANGING OUR HISTORY!
By Ruth Matar
NEW ISRAELI TEXTBOOKS - WITH NEWLY-WRITTEN HISTORY
Good evening. Dear listeners, today we'll be discussing a very important subject. Israel's history books are being rewritten, and our youngsters are being brainwashed to adopt the post-Zionist orientation. These books are not ordinary books - they are textbooks, approved by Israel's Ministry of Education, and each student in the public school system must buy one of three new such textbooks, according to the decision of each school or district. The front-runner among the three books is, by far, one entitled The 20th Century, by Prof. Ayal Naveh.
Four days ago, the New York Times had a long front-page article, entitled "Israel's History Textbooks Replace Myth With Facts," explaining how the new books shed a "different light" on the Israeli-Arab conflict. Let's compare the new books with the old ones. I have a textbook published in 1984, entitled, "Not on a Silver Platter: From National Home to Sovereign State, 1939-1949" written by Yosef Ofek. He writes, "The numerical standoff [during Israel's War of Independence in 1948] was horrifyingly unbalanced. The Jewish population totaled only 650,000, while the Arab states together comprised more than 40 million people. The chances of success were doubtful, and the Jewish community had to draft every possible fighter for its defense."
OK, now let's see what the new book has to say on this topic. The book by Naveh, published this year, which many 9th graders all over the country are now buying, states as follows: "On nearly every front and in nearly every battle, the Jewish side had the advantage, in terms of planning, organization, equipment, and the number of trained fighters in each battle."
FROM WHENCE THE "NEW" FACTS?
Where did Prof. Naveh get his facts to replace what he calls the old myths? After all, he was born only in 1952, four years after the War of Independence. He certainly has no first-hand information - so where did he get his facts? Naveh says that his book is "based on newly-opened state archives." When were these permitted to be opened? "In 1977," he answers - 22 years ago. In my book, that is not exactly newly-opened.
To find out what really happened during our War of Independence, we are privileged to have as our guests on our show tonight two men who were actively involved in it, and are able to give us a true picture of what really happened more than 50 years ago. First - Prof. Re'uel Shinar, a Professor of Engineering in City College in New York and presently an engineering consultant. He worked, as he put it, for the "nascent Israeli military industry, on the front and underground. I graduated before the war with a chemical engineering degree. During the war I dealt with explosives and demolitions, and we had a very difficult time with this at the time. We were very lacking in weapons all over."
Ruth Matar: "How did you feel when you read the NY Times article about the new books?"
Prof. Shinar: "I was very upset. I felt that this was such a falsification of experience that I can only compare to another similar falsification of history - I am referring to the denial of the Holocaust."
RM: "Really! That is quite a strong indictment."
Prof. Shinar: "- Because for me and most of my generation, the War of Independence was a very formative experience in our whole attitude to life. The first two weeks of the war seemed simply hopeless. The British had armed the Arabs, and they prevented us from arming ourselves. We had good preparation and good fighters, but we had very little to fight with. The fact that whole world was ready to sit by and watch, so soon after the Holocaust, how these large and well-equipped Arab armies slaughter the Jews - this was a major aspect of the formulation of my life. As an example, the Arabs had real planes and real bombs, and they could have overrun the whole country in the first two weeks. Only after a while did we receive arms from the one country who was ready to help us - Czechoslovakia. The British didn't allow us to prepare ourselves. Let me give you an example that will show you how hopeless our situation was. On the second day of the war, a Air Force officer came to me with a strange request -
RM: "I thought there was no Israel Air Force?"
Prof. Shinar: "Oh, we had a few small planes, like Piper Cubs-
RM: "You mean that small plane, the one in which JFK Jr. was just killed? But that only has one engine!"
Prof. Shinar: "Right, that's what we had in those days. The copilot would hold the bomb in his hand and throw it out the window. This was our Air Force. In any event, this officer came to me and said there weren't enough bombs. He said that they had an idea to use cases of empty beer bottles - because one of the purposes of bombs is not only to cause damage, but to cause noise so that they will be afraid, keep their heads down, and not see from where the bombs are coming. So the idea was to use these cases that would make a lot of noise when they crashed down. But, he said, there was one problem: beer-bottle cases don't shriek when they fall, as bombs do, and he asked if I could do something about it. I had had no experience in this, but I said I would try. In the end, we found some toy sirens, and we copied and enlarged them a bit, and within a day or two we had 20 of them.
I am still amazed now that the Arabs, in those first two weeks, didn't simply come into Tel Aviv and take it over. They were very incompetent, it's true, but we couldn't exactly rely on that. What this author wrote is irresponsible nonsense. He could have spoken to many people who were alive at the time, such as [former Techiyah Knesset Member] Prof. Yuval Ne'eman, who was working with the tactics team at the time."
THE TRUE MOTIVE
RM: "What do you think is the motive of these people who are rewriting history?"
Prof. Shinar: "Young professors who need to make a reputation for themselves write outrageous statements so they will get their names into the papers... But this professor is not at fault - it's the fault of Education Minister Yossi Sarid, who put these books into the schools! He's misusing the schools for political purposes. Sarid has always fought for a different peace than that which Barak and Peres and Netanyahu have fought for, which is the only one acceptable to the majority of Israel. They wish to protect Israel's ability to defend itself, and not to give up. But Sarid knows that what prevents people from accepting his idea of peace is the memory of '48, so he wants to eradicate the memory. Those who were there at the time remember what happened, and he can't change that, but he can poison children in the schools and do it that way. This is a very old leftist idea, used by Hitler too, that people's idea of life is formed by history and their experience and that of their parents. Sarid wishes to change what people think by changing what they know of their history."
RM: "This is clearly a very dangerous situation. People like you, who were there, must speak up."
Prof. Shinar: "Yes, I will speak up, and contact my friends, and write...
But it is truly up to Barak: Barak knows Sarid, and knows what he's doing, and if Barak does not stop him, then he is not fit to be a Prime Minister, and his coalition must not allow him to do this.
[Ruth Matar thanked Prof. Shinar, and continued:]
AN AMERICAN VOLUNTEER'S VIEW
Our next guest is Col. Bill Lichtman, retired U.S. Air Force pilot who volunteered in Israel in 1948. What impressed me about Col. Lichtman is that he does not portray himself in a heroic mode, but simply says that when he was approached by the Israelis to help in their desperate fight, he said that he thought long and hard about it, because he was already tired of war and he knew that his trip to Israel might be a one-way trip - but he decided to do it anyway. Many of you listeners fell in love with this crusty old warrior the last time he was on our show.
Col. Lichtman: "I would just like to make a quick comment first, if I may: I can't understand what drives these guys to try to rewrite history and compromise on the truth. Is it insecurity, Jewish self-hatred, guilt, hostility, or what? They never give a thought to what it will do to the children in the schools. OK, regarding the war itself: This guy simply doesn't know what he's talking about! We didn't have a military edge, or a military supply line. There was an arms embargo from the US. We got our arms in a very partisan manner, 'catch as catch can.' There were guys who walked around with suitcases with money, and they went wherever there were a couple of planes that they could get - Panama, Mexico, or wherever. The embargo from the U.S. was very strictly enforced. If you got caught smuggling a plane out of the U.S., you would have your passport taken away. Flying these WW2 planes to Israel from various corners of the world was very dangerous. The DC-3's that we had were usually used as cargo planes - we rigged them for war. We had bomb chuckers. An individual was roped to the bulkheads, and he would chuck the bombs out the door. Only after a while were they able to put regular bomb-releases under the wings..."
Lichtman continued to describe the difficulties that Israel faced in procuring arms and putting together a fighting army while in the midst of waging its defensive war of independence. "In short, everything this new book says is not true, and it certainly was not as easy as he writes."
RM: "Thanks for being with us, Col. Lichtman, but most of all, thanks for being with us in 1948 in our hour of need. You and the others must speak up." Col. Lichtman: "I do, and I write a lot, and I just want to say that this book is a terrible insult to myself and to my colleagues who fought at the time."
[Ruth Matar then read aloud several passages from the book written by Naveh.] One passage stated that the PLO was established after the 1967 war's conquest of the territories and their two million Palestinian inhabitants "which Israel refused to recognize as a national entity." This is of course part of the Big Lie, because the Palestine Liberation Organization was really founded in 1964 - what exactly were they trying to liberate at the time? The only "territories" at the time were the original State of Israel - and that's what the PLO was trying to liberate!
In addition, Naveh gives the students the standard left-wing empathy exercises: "Pretend you are an Egyptian soldier writing to his family from an Israeli prison," and "Pretend you are a woman refugee in a Gazan refugee camp conquered by Israel." It's very significant that in this whole empathy exercise, nowhere are the students asked to pretend to be an Israeli soldier writing home about how exalted he feels taking part in the return to our Biblical lands that G-d has promised us in our Bible. This, Naveh does not ask!
WHAT TO DO
Fellow Jews in Israel and the Diaspora! This is your problem as well! 60% of Israel's students in the public school system will be indoctrinated with these post-Zionist lies - and then if they don't regurgitate these lies on their final exams and their Bagrut matriculation examinations, they will receive failing grades! School must be a place not only to learn facts, but also to be indoctrinated with a love for one's country and a spirit of Zionism! A new generation could G-d forbid arise that doesn't understand why they must defend Eretz Yisrael! Why should they, if they have been taught that it does not rightly belong to them!
This is not a small problem. The Jewish state is being destroyed from within by the brainwashing of our children. You can stop this madness by calling or faxing Prime Minister Barak and making him aware of what the Education Ministry is doing. His fax number is (972-2) 566-4838, and his phone number is (972-3) 670-5510. It is crucial that we raise our voice on this matter!
Ruth Matar is co-chairperson of the Women in Green organization, and hosts a weekly show on Arutz-7.