Magazine article The Nation

Shamir to School Kids: Drop Dead

Magazine article The Nation

Shamir to School Kids: Drop Dead

Article excerpt

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Shamir to School Kids: Drop Dead

Back in the late spring of last year Jane Serling-Boyd was talking to her second-grade Hebrew class at the Beth El synagogue in Durham, North Carolina, about the situation in Israel and the occupied territories. She told the children that Jews and Arabs had been fighting, that both sides had done bad things and that violence was wrong. Then ten of her students suggested they send Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir letters asking for peace.

Serling-Boyd got her pupils started by having them write that they were Jews in North Carolina and then let them take it from there. She didn't really expect an answer but got one from Shamir's office, dated July 6 and signed by Z.H. Hurwitz, an adviser to Shamir. Hurwitz acknowledged "the so-called letters of the children" and sharply criticized Serling-Boyd. "If this is what you are implanting into the minds of the children you are doing them a great disservice," Hurwitz wrote, adding that children should be taught to love the land of Israel and not "'Peace Now' propaganda. . . . There is a special name reserved for those who manipulate the minds of little children. It is one of the most serious of sins."

This distressed Serling-Boyd, who had lived in Israel for a year when she was 18. She contacted her Representative, David Price, and Senator Terry Sanford (hot-air merchant and love object of the pragmatists). She also wrote to The New York Times and The Jerusalem Post, neither of which printed her letter. …

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