Two weeks ago Israeli police found pamphlets that read, “Members of the Likud Caucus [the right-wing party currently in power], along with its thousands of members, headed by Moshe Feiglin [a political activist] are hereby invited to arrive at Temple Mount and praise God, and declare that healthy leadership begins with total control over Temple Mount. (Let us) purify this place from the enemies of Israel, who rob lands, and build the Temple on the ruins of mosques. We need not be afraid!” Police banned Feiglin from going onto the Haram al Sharif, which he tried to do. This news spread through the Palestinian community, and some began protesting. A week later, a rumor spread through some Palestinian circles that Feiglin and his supporters were going to try again, and young men again protested and threw stones at the army. This past Friday, Talat Ramia was among young men throwing rocks at a checkpoint, when he was shot and killed by an Israeli soldier. An Israeli army spokesperson said that Ramia had thrown firecrackers at the soldiers.
Since I am interviewing both Israeli and Palestinian teachers, this news made me wonder: where did Moshe Feiglin go to school? Where did Talat Ramia go? What I would have hoped from each would have been different – from Feiglin, a broader and more welcoming view of humanity, and from Ramia, better self-control and understanding of what will actually further his hopes and dreams. Did Feiglin have teachers who introduced him to an understanding of and respect for people of different faiths? Did Ramia have teachers who sought to inculcate in him emotional self-regulation and an insight into what actions actually effect political and social change?
For Feiglin a quick web search in English turns up masses of information, including where he went to high school, facts about his family, his two books, his regular writings and his many speeches. For Ramia, 15 minutes of searching in English yielded me only his hometown and a picture of his relatives mourning. In any case, Feiglin is a 50 year-old highly influential Israeli nationalist political activist, and Ramia was a 25 year-old Palestinian angered by the latest rumor. Of course, both were influenced by many people before and after high school, most powerfully by their families. Nonetheless, were there teaching opportunities to turn them, even if ever so slightly, off the path that led to this tragedy?