'In your face' democracy: Education for belonging and its challenges in Israel

Ayman K. Agbaria, Muhanad Mustafa, Yousef T. Jabareen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article will juxtapose the goals and implications of two pedagogical programmes that promote education for belonging in Israel. Representing the official knowledge of the Ministry of Education, the first is the '100 Concepts in Heritage, Zionism and Democracy' curriculum. The second, which embodies the counter knowledge produced and disseminated by Arab civil society organizations, is entitled 'Identity and Belonging: The Basic Concepts Project for Arab Pupils'. The article grapples with the attempts of Israel to impose a state-standardized version of education for belonging, as well as the active resistance to this by Arab civil society in Israel which provides an alternative one. The article argues that the concepts included in the curriculum posed by Arab civil society, albeit controversial and challenging to the very definition of Israel as both a Jewish nation state and a democracy, should be considered an act of citizenship, rather than a sign of radicalization and separatism. Indeed, the alternative curriculum constitutes a political and ethical act of 'in your face' democracy, which is deeply confrontational and interruptive. The paper is organized into three sections. The first explicates the politics of recognition as a theoretical framework for this study. The second unit presents both curricula and compares and contrasts the two. The third and final section offers concluding thoughts regarding the interplay of the rival Palestinian and Israeli historiographies in the struggle over canonizing and standardizing a collective narrative through the Israeli education system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-175
Number of pages33
JournalBritish Educational Research Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 British Educational Research Association.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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