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"Who Seeks Peace, Will Live in Peace": Representation of Arab Women in Hebrew Literature Curricula

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Literature has the potential to play a crucial role in peace education, particularly during childhood and adolescence when literature is considered a strong political socializing agent. Analyzing Hebrew literature curriculum for secondary schools in the Arab sector of Israel/Palestine, this study examines the portrayal of Arab women in this curriculum as well as the socio-ideological and civic aims of the curriculum, described by the Israeli Ministry of Education and Culture as "consideration for social and cultural sensitivities”. Given the possibility of curricula to enact expressions of social change, the study analyzes if the representation of Arab women in the curriculum contributes to peace-building dialogue between Arabs and Jews. The analysis is informed by Kristeva’s notion of abjection as it is often used to describe the state of marginalized groups, as well as the theories of literary criticism that claim literature instills values, reflects  social changes and evolving perceptions, and shapes the identity of the reader. Finally, the analysis draws from peace studies research that argues literature is a powerful tool for cultivating peaceful co-existence, mutual respect, ethical values, and social responsibility

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