UAE to teach Holocaust in primary, secondary schools

UAE to teach Holocaust in primary, secondary schools
The UAE will teach primary and secondary school children about the Holocaust, according to the country's embassy in the US.
3 min read
History lessons on the Holocaust are set to begin for children in the UAE following the country's normalisation deal with Israel in 2020 [Getty]

The United Arab Emirates will begin teaching about the Holocaust in history classes in primary and secondary schools across the country, the country's embassy in the US says.

The embassy provided no details on the curriculum and education authorities in the Emirates, a federation of seven sheikhdoms, did not immediately acknowledge the announcement on Monday.

However, the announcement comes after the UAE normalised relations with Israel in 2020 as part of a deal brokered by the administration of President Donald Trump.

"In the wake of the historic (hashtag)AbrahamAccords, (the UAE) will now include the Holocaust in the curriculum for primary and secondary schools," the embassy said in a tweet, referring to the normalisation deal that also saw Bahrain and ultimately Morocco also recognise Israel.

Ambassador Deborah E. Lipstadt, the US special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, praised the announcement in her own tweet.

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"Holocaust education is an imperative for humanity and too many countries, for too long, continue to downplay the Shoah for political reasons," Lipstadt wrote, using a Hebrew word for the Holocaust. "I commend the UAE for this step and expect others to follow suit soon."

The Holocaust saw Nazi Germany systematically kill 6 million European Jews during World War II.

The announcement comes ahead of a planned meeting of the Negev Forum Working Groups in Abu Dhabi this week, which grew out of the normalisation. The meeting will see officials from Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Morocco, the UAE and the US attend. Egypt has diplomatically recognised Israel for decades.

The previous Negev Forum last March in Israel drew widespread condemnation from Palestinians, who criticised Arab officials’ presence and labelled it a "stab in the back".

In 1948  hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homes and many others were killed in massacres, paving the way for the creation the state of Israel.

The state grants automatic citizenship to anyone of Jewish descent, while it continues its brutal occupation over Palestine.

Other Arab nations have refused to diplomatically recognise Israel over its decades-long occupation and human rights violations.

The announcement by the UAE also comes after it and other Arab nations condemned an ultranationalist Israeli Cabinet minister for visiting a flashpoint Jerusalem holy site for the first time since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new far-right government took office.

The site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, is the holiest site in Judaism, home to the ancient biblical Temples. Today, it houses the Al Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam. Since Israel captured the site in 1967, Jews have been allowed to visit but not pray there.