By David Newman
The Jerusalem Post | April, 18 2001
In Israel, Holocaust education has become, for many, a last resort in creating a sense of identity and attachment for a younger generation which has become increasingly alienated from a country which is continually fighting for its existence and to which this same youth is being asked to fight and, perhaps, make the supreme sacrifice. The use of the Israeli flag as a blatant symbol of nationalism during the March of the Living is, at one and the same time, a moment of pride for the youth of a country which rose from the ashes of the mass extermination, but equally a cynical manipulation of history’s greatest human tragedy to promote nationalism and to cover up for the failures of the education system back home in creating a sense of identity and loyalty to the state in which they reside.
No country can continually resort to the darkest moments in its history as the only common denominator which brings youth of diverse backgrounds to identify with a common cause.
“Never Again” is an important slogan for Israel, but it cannot be the only slogan by which generations of children and young adults will be asked to swear their
allegiance to the state. But however important a message this may be, it can never replace the essential positive aspects of living within a state and contributing to its development and security — messages which the state education system has miserably failed to disseminate beyond the context of persecution and pogroms.
(The writer is chairman of the Department of Politics and Government at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.)