The study examined 74 Israeli and 94 Palestinian textbooks from grades 1-12 from Israeli state and ultra-Orthodox religious schools as well as schools run by the Palestinian Authority (PA).
“On both sides, the chief problem is the crime of omission. It’s the absence of a clear, outright recognition of existence and the other side’s right to exist,” said Gershon Baskin, an Israeli member of the study’s scientific advisory panel, the Associated Press reported.
Controversially, the report found little evidence for the claims made by the Israeli government and others that Palestinians glorify violence and teach hatred in their textbooks, according to the Associated Press.
The Israeli Ministry of Education dismissed the study’s findings as “biased, unprofessional and significantly lacking in objectivity” in a press statement. Meanwhile, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad welcomed the findings.
Previous reports on Palestinian textbooks contradict the study’s results. The watchdog group Palestinian Media Watch has found that Palestinian textbooks “deny Israel’s right to exist” and promote the conflict as an “eternal religious battle for Islam.”
The report did conclude that Israeli state textbooks are generally more balanced than Palestinian textbooks.
“Israeli state textbooks provided more information and less negative characterizations of the other side and more self-criticism regarding certain historical episodes than the ultra-Orthodox or Palestinian books,” the report said.
The report was commissioned by the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land and was financed through a grant from the U.S. State Department.