This trimester at the Hebrew High in Omaha I am teaching a class called "Extremist Right Wing Israeli Politics."
I wanted to teach a class on Israeli politics and I was tired of the old "balanced" approach. It is common sense that people who are partial and have a strong opinion on a subject will be more interested and have a better grasp on the situation than people who are decidedly undecided.
If the kids don't like right wing extremism then they can choose left wing extremism. My goal is not to indoctrinate, rather I want to make these kids active participants in the conversation about the Jewish State. Right now the kids in Omaha don't have a strong connection to what is happening in Israel and this is my experimental new approach.
So I am going to, as they say, teach what I know. And anyone who knows me knows that I know extremist right wing Israeli politics. I am seriously holding in everything that Rabbi Meir Kahane ever wrote. And that is exactly what we are going to be learning together in class.
Here is the basic outline. Rabbi Kahane wrote a book titled, "Uncomfortable Questions for Comfortable Jews." There are six units in the trimester so each unit we will explore a different uncomfortable questions. My hope is that each class will bring to life a basic difference between the left and right wing in Israel and the kids can read what Kahane had to say and decide if they agree or disagree.
Here are the six questions:
1. Do the Arabs in Israel have the right to quietly peacefully and democratically become the majority in Israel? (Is Israel first a Jewish or a Democratic State?)
2. In the 19th century did Jews come to Israel or did Jews come back to Israel? (Through what narrative do we view Israeli history?)
3. Should Israel give land for peace? (Were Oslo, expulsion from Gaza, and prisoner exchanges good choices?)
4. Must they go? (Is it possible to coexist with the Arabs?)
5. Revolution or Referendum? (Should Kahane have the right to speak?)
6. A Jewish State or a Hebrew speaking Portugal? (Should Israel impose Torah law?)
That is my class. I really hope the kids enjoy it. I plan to blog the discussions along the way and if anyone out there has any suggestions, I am completely open. I am trying something new and I hope it works, but all ideas are welcome and appreciated.