Reforms of the curriculum and school textbooks in use in Saudi Arabia have been praised by the political correspondent of Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. Itamar Eichner described as “progress” the Saudi decision to add content critical of Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as “more tolerant content” that promotes peace.
Eichner cited an analysis of 301 textbooks published in the last five years by the Saudi Ministry of Education. “The most significant change that has been made is in the negative attitude toward Jews, with almost all the anti-Semitic examples in the books completely removed this year.”
An example of such “anti-Semitic” content, he said, was a song about opposition to Jewish settlement in Palestine. All of Israel’s settlements for Jews only in occupied Palestine are, of course, illegal in international law. “Moreover, a high school history book no longer includes a lesson on the positive results of the first intifada and references to Israel as a ‘fraudulent democracy’.”
It is believed that the changes made by Saudi Arabia are part of Riyadh’s prelude to normalisation of relations with the occupation state.