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Israel’s Advocacy Room where volunteer students work social media channels “to explain” Israel’s side of the story. PHOTO: Herzliya/IDC

By Anonymous | 21 February 2020

The Forward is publishing this article anonymously to protect the author, who currently teaches at a New York day school, from repercussions at work.

FORWARD — A recent survey by the Anti-Defamation League found that nearly a quarter of Americans believe American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the United States. Based on my experience teaching at half a dozen Jewish day schools over the past twelve years, I am shocked that the figure is so low.

Imagine being a non-Jewish employee at one of these schools in New York City, maybe a security guard or a special-education teacher’s aide. You walk into the building and see Israeli flags hanging all over the place. Lessons are delivered in Hebrew — often at the obvious expense of student comprehension. Children sing HaTikvah in the morning with enforced gusto. Israeli soldiers regularly address the student body. Children wear kippot and hoodies emblazoned with the logo of the Israel Defense Forces.

Zionism is messaged in these schools as the most essential attribute of our students’ identity. It’s a huge problem.

I’ve heard teachers or administrators say at assemblies things like “you don’t belong in America,” “Israel is your country” and “the IDF are your soldiers.” When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the United States Congress in opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, against the wishes of President Obama, the high school where I was working cancelled classes to watch “our Prime Minister.” That’s a real quote. […]

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