Some of the suggested works proved controversial, and the debate even made the local press*. (*Strangely, now when I went back to the site/link, I found that the talkbacks have been deleted. There had been quite a public debate.) A number of teachers wanted the debut historical novel, Grains of Sand, by Shifra Shomron, who based her novel on her experiences as a teenager expelled from her home in Neve Dekalim, Gush Katif.
I'm considered a veteran high school English teacher here in Israel, and I admit to having encouraged Shifra with her writing and offered her to blog on Shiloh Musings. It's a good book and I think that its inclusion would have made the students think and encouraged Israeli students to try writing. But the book didn't make it into the official recommended list.
Ironically, while Shifra's book is very understated, personal and non-political, a much more controversial book did make it in. Actually, I'm overjoyed that The Wave by Morton Rhue is one of the two choices for top level (5 point Bagrut) Israeli students.
"The setting of the book is Gordon High School in 1969. The plot of the book revolves around around a history teacher (Mr. Ben Ross), his high school students, and an experiment he conducts in an attempt to teach them about how it may have been living in Nazi Germany. He hopes this answers the question of why the Germans allowed Adolf Hitler and the genocidal Nazi Party to rise to power, acting in a manner inconsistent with their own pre-existing moral values...
Laurie, a student in Mr. Ross' class, starts to think that The Wave is having too much of an impact. A huge majority of the school is in The Wave, and its members attack students who refuse to join. Using her influence as the School Newspaper Editor, Laurie releases an entire issue of The Grapevine dedicated to showing the dangers of The Wave. While some thank her, especially teachers and parents, others do not. Laurie's boyfriend David, who has been in The Wave since the beginning, tries to get her to stop bad-mouthing The Wave. He eventually shoves her to the ground and this makes him realize how dangerous The Wave really is."
I think it should be required reading to prepare our students for IDF army service. We don't want "just following orders" Nazi-like robots in the army, and we certainly don't want our children to be mind-controlled.
The Fall of the Last Community in Gush Katif
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The Last Hours of Netzer Hazani
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Every time I see films of how our soldiers systematically, methodically and trained to overcome their emotion as they force innocent Israeli Jews from their homes, I'm spooked, scared out of my wits. It's inhuman and against Jewish Law how our soldiers behaved. I'm glad that my sons were already out of the army when Disengagement happened.
Descended from the same Jewish souls who sympathize with every underdog, even the fakes and antisemitic ones, our politicians, leaders, media and judicial must have undergone some perverse mutation. How else can this be explained?
It would be best if Israeli high school students would be exposed to the dangers of cults and brainwashing in their native Hebrew, but it looks like it's up to the English teachers to immunize the youth against the mind control of the "politically correct."