Study Guide \ How do we say Nakba in Hebrew?
“Education is where we decide whether we love our children enough… to prepare them in advance for the task of renewing a common world.” Hannah Arendt, 1968

Brochure for educators about the study guide

The Nakba is the Palestinian catastrophe of 1948: the destruction of localities, the expulsion of inhabitants, and the erasure of Palestinian life and culture as they existed until 1948. The Nakba is a foundational event in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one that constitutes our lives even today, but it is also an event that has been largely silenced, one that has little place in Israeli society.

Learning about the Nakba raises questions and presents challenges:  How can we learn and teach about the Nakba in the Israeli educational system? How can we deal with the fears and uncertainties that arise when we learn about the Nakba? How are we to present historical accounts that are so different from the ones we grew up on? How can we develop tools to critically analyze these new accounts? And how can we bridge the gaps between the familiar historical and current stories and the new ones we just start to know?

How do we say Nakba in Hebrew? is a unique study guide about the Nakba for teachers in the formal and informal Israeli-Jewish educational systems. The study guide contains 13 units, each of which includes lesson plans and activities tailored to students aged 15 or older. Three years in preparation, the study guide was researched, written, designed, and assessed by teachers and by Zochrot's staff.

Learning about the Nakba through the study guide in Israel engages students in questions about their identities as Israelis-Jews, about places in Israel that they know well, and about their own collective memory. More advanced concepts examine hegemonic versus silenced histories, what it means to be a refugee, and reconciliation, among other topics.

The study guide is grounded in the principles of critical pedagogy. It seeks to provide students with tools for interpreting the reality in which they live, coping with it emotionally and intellectually, and exercising critical thought. Methodologically, the guide is multifaceted, using primary and secondary historical sources, films, photographs, artwork, demonstrations, and computer presentations, as well as unique original materials prepared especially for this project.

The Nakba is the calamity of the Palestinian people, but it is also the story of the Jewish people who live in Israel. Learning about the Nakba challenges the foundations on which many Jewish Israelis were raised. But it also has the potential to create a future based on reconciliation and to establish a new set of relationships between Israelis and Palestinians, grounded in respect, mutual acknowledgement, and responsibility.

Contents of the study guide

The study guide has been organized to work either linearly (progressing from Unit 1 to Unit 13) or modularly (using any combination of units independently). The key words attributed to the different sections allow teachers to combine the different units according to a variety of pedagogical approaches and topics.

Introduction and Index

Unit

Contents

1. We’re On the Map 

What about me? What map am I on?

Students draw maps of the country, discussing their personal connection to a place and what they know about the history of that place before 1948.

2. Landscapes of Home

What do we see when we look at the landscape? What don’t we see?

A computer presentation of current, familiar landscapes, addressing both the presence and absence of traces of the Nakba.

3. Gentlemen, History is Histories

One place – three narratives.

A historical episode from 1948 is examined from three different perspectives, using archival materials and primary and secondary historical sources.

4. Nakba – Shu hada?

It’s not just Palestinian history.

A computer presentation provides a historical overview of the Nakba through testimonies, photographs, and quotes.

5. Both of Us, and One Village

Tup’aha and Dov talk about the village of ‘Amqa.

Encounter with two video testimonies about the Nakba, one by a Jewish Israeli and one by a Palestinian; discussion of  oral history as a lens for learning history.

6. And You Shall Recount it to Your Sons and Your Daughters

How shall we talk about the Nakba?

Testimonies about the Nakba, and a clip from a documentary film that depicts a family talking about it, are a stepping stone to confronting questions raised while studying the Nakba.

7. Arise, and Walk Through the Land

What used to be here?

Students take a tour of a destroyed Palestinian village, led by a refugee who once lived there.

8. Searching the Home Page

Individual research.

Students conduct an independent research project (for example, about the Palestinian history of their hometown) using the internet, books, photographs, and maps.

9. The Land of Sad Oranges

A story about Palestinian refugees.

Reading and responding to The Land of Sad Oranges, a novela by the Palestinian writer Ghassan Kanafani.

10. Atten-shun!

Remembering and forgetting in national commemorative ceremonies.

Clips from a documentary film about commemorative ceremonies in Israel form the basis for a discussion about the construction of collective memory.

11. Time Passes, a Place Changes

The story of Haifa’s Wadi Salib neighborhood.

The multiple historical layers of a single place are revealed through photographs, readings, and clips from a television series.

12. "That’s Not Something We Talk About"

The Palestinian refugees’ right of return.

A photography exhibit by Palestinian youth, quotes by Palestinians, and other sources, elicit questions about the meaning of return for Palestinians and Israelis.

13. Forever and Ever is a Very Long Time

Paths to reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.

Students view a segment of a film on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commissions and discuss possibilities for reconciliation.

Learning more about the study guide

For teachers using the study-guide, Zochrot also offers the following activities:

  • Introductory workshops: An overview of the study guide with an opportunity to experience one of its units.
  • Two-day training seminar: Experiencing the study guide’s critical- pedagogical approach, overview of the learning process, and methods of applying the guide in different educational settings. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and pose dilemmas about the guide’s subject matter from both a professional and personal standpoint.
  • Individual or group support: Ongoing support for those using the study guide, to help teachers address challenges that arise during the school year, and develop additional materials.
  • “Hot line”:  Zochrot’s education staff is available to respond and help with any question, problem, idea, suggestion, or difficulty. Contact us by telephone, 03-695-3155, or by email: education@zochrot.org.
  • Website: The entire study guide can be found on Zochrot's website, as well as updates and activities related to the study guide, www.zochrot.org. 

The entier study guide and additional materials are available in Hebrew.

For additional materials related to the study guide in English, you may contact Amaya Galili |education@zochrot.org

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Here are some of  Zochrot’s suggestions for activities that can be carried out at home, in school or in public to commemorate the nakba this...

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