Some peace proponents believe that the only way to move toward reconciliation is to accept and recognize the narrative of the other, and to that end, more progressive segments of the Israeli educational establishment support the inclusion of the word nakba in history books. One of them is former education minister Yuli Edelstein, who in 2007 authorized the publication of a sixth-grade history textbook for Arab students with the word nakba in it. Israel's population is 20 percent Arab, and pupils primarily attend state-run schools in Arabic.
'Neoconservatism trying to close people's minds'
Saar's move comes on the heels of an attempt by the controversial Israel Beiteinu (Israel is Our Home) Party, headed by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, to force Israeli-Arabs to sign a loyalty oath as a requirement for maintaining citizenship. The party last month introduced a Knesset bill making it illegal for groups to hold public ceremonies to mark the nakba. But when the legality of such a move was called into question, the party modified the bill, which now would prohibit state funding for any organization that marks the nakba with mourning rituals. The Knesset's Constitution, Law and Justice Committee approved the measure on Sunday, but it would still have to pass two more readings to become law.