French school in Lebanon forced to apologize for putting Israel on map
A private French school in Beirut has caused uproar after it emerged one of its text books referred to the land south of Lebanon as Israel, and not Palestine. Under Lebanese law, Israel’s very existence is forbidden from being acknowledged.
The transgression first surfaced on social media, when the father of a nine-year-old girl posted a picture of a map showing Israel in one of the school’s textbooks, along with the caption, “this is what my fourth grade daughter learned in class today.”
The school was forced into an apology, issuing a statement saying it has absolute respect for the sovereignty and history of Lebanon, while emphasizing its commitment to the official curriculum. Lebanon and Israel remain technically at war, and Lebanese law does not allow recognizing Israel in any form, even on maps.
Marwan Hamadeh, the Lebanese Minister of Education, has promised to look into the matter, the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported. MP, Wael Abu, has asked Hamadeh to look into the running of the school and to take appropriate measures if it is seen to be undermining Lebanese and Palestinian political or cultural identities.
Regional tensions with Israel have been particularly inflamed over the last few days, as US President Donald Trump signed a declaration moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, officially acknowledging the ancient city as the Israeli capital. International observers have warned that Trump’s decision could lead to more unrest in the Middle East.