Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”
– Proverbs 22:6
These wise words of King Solomon have been used for centuries to teach both Jews and Christians how to raise their children.
Today it is the site at which Solomon built the first Temple, and the lies that surround it, that have sparked the recent ‘knife intifada’ which saw hundreds of Palestinians, mainly teenagers, carry out deadly terror attacks against Israeli civilians.
Could the truth of Proverbs 22:6 be playing out in this latest uprising? Are Palestinian teenagers and young adults living out the hatred by which they have been raised?
In this article we look at just a handful of recent examples that show how hatred towards Jews is taught to many Palestinian children from birth, and sadly influences them in every aspect of their lives growing up.
One of the first things we are given in life is our name. Many of us know the meaning of our name and it was chosen by our parents to inspire us on our journey through life.
Late last year a family in Gaza named their newborn child “Knife of Jerusalem” to “honour the blood of the martyrs” who had died during the ”knife intifada”. They were inspired to give this name to their child when the song “Lovers of Stabbing” started playing on the TV while they were discussing baby names.
Another father impressed his hatred upon his young daughter when he filmed her holding a large kitchen knife. The girl is no older than 3-years of age and far too young for many parents to allow anywhere near such a sharp object. However, this man filmed his little girl like any proud father would. With her innocent smile and wide eyes beaming, she looks at her father and gleefully announces the soul chilling phrase, “I want to stab a Jew”.
What father would teach this to his child?
Furthermore, this father is also a teacher. Whilst children are learning hate at home, this hatred is reinforced by many other sources. There are many schools in the Palestinian Territories that teach the history of Israel and Jerusalem in a way that reaffirms their mindset that Jerusalem must be liberated from the ”evil” Jews.
There are countless videos of children in Gaza’s schools, some of them funded by the UN, performing various plays where they reenact the capturing of Israeli soldiers, the killing of Jewish people or the retaking of Jerusalem.
In one video a class of children who are graduating from kindergarten (pre-school) are seen marching in Hamas terrorist uniforms and declaring “Jihad”. When the announcer asks, “What is your aspiration?” the children reply in unison, “death for Allah”.
You read that correctly; they aspire to die for Allah.
In Britain we encourage our children to aspire to be successful in whatever profession they choose. Many dream of becoming footballers, singers or astronauts. We would be horrified if our child told us their dream was to die while murdering Jews.
It seems that Palestinian children have no escape from this incitement. Even TV programmes aimed at children are productions of Jew hatred.
In a recent children’s show on a Palestinian TV channel, the child host praised the Palestinians who stabbed Israeli civilians, saying, “we revere the young heroes who have sacrificed their lives for Jerusalem and who carried out all those great heroic acts.”
In another TV programme the host, who is a teenager, asks a boy, who is around 7-years-old, what he would like to do when he grows up. He replies that he wants to be an engineer so he can “blow up the Jews”. On a different show a little girl says she wants to be a police officer so she can “shoot all the Jews”. These are just a few of the many horrific examples.
Although these programmes are of low production quality, it is important to note the popularity of these shows. Hamas owned ‘Al-Aqsa TV’ (where the majority of these children’s programmes are broadcast) is the most viewed channel in both Gaza and the West Bank.
Music is another powerful way to influence young impressionable minds. Just like the song that inspired the parents to name their son ‘Knife of Jerusalem’, various songs of stabbing Israelis, liberating al-Aqsa mosque, retaking Jerusalem and more have been playing out across the airwaves in recent times.
In February 2016, the song, “The Roof of the Bus Goes Flying” was released; a modern, upbeat dance song with a catchy tune and accompanied by a high production music video. In the video Hamas soldiers dance in front of a burnt out bus. The video of the men dancing cuts away to scenes of a loving father playing with his son, hugging him and helping him study, then ultimately bidding the son farewell as the man goes off to carry out a suicide bombing on an Israeli bus full of Jews.
Every word of this song is about martyrdom and terrorism against Israelis and includes lines such as, “Oh bearer of good tidings, wrap the explosive belt around your waist. The story of the intifada will only be told when the roof of a bus goes flying.”
Another line says, “Oh Martyrdom-seeker, make them cry. Make fire engulf them. Turn them into body parts, roast them, bringing joy to the hearts of the steadfast people.”
How influential was this horrific song? In April 2016, two months after its release, a Palestinian teenager boarded a bus full of Israeli women and children and detonated a bomb in his backpack, killing himself, injuring 20 others (some severely) and engulfing the bus he was on and a passing bus in flames. The scenes from the terror attack are almost identical to those in the music video.
Whether this teen was directly influenced by the song or not, it was the environment he was raised in that lead to his actions.
His attack was widely celebrated in the Palestinian territories. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack and the ‘martyr’ was praised on television and on social media by Palestinian celebrities, news readers and presenters. His mother was filmed praising her son as she handed out sweets to children on the streets of Gaza, all the while with a smile on her face.
This mother’s pride in her son’s martyrdom is not unique. Last December a mother of a terrorist who carried out a deadly bus stabbing was interviewed live on Palestinian TV just days after her son’s attack. During the interview she spoke of the pride she had for her son, handed out sweets to celebrate what he had done and then pulled out a large kitchen knife from her clothes making threats against Israel while brandishing the weapon. During the interview she proclaimed, “I will sacrifice my four children for the sake of al-Aqsa,” as her young children sat alongside.
These examples illustrate the increasingly dangerous trend of indoctrination being passed from one generation to the next. There is more to it than simply teaching them to hate; it goes further when you train your child to kill.
Summer camps are popular in Gaza. Most of the camps are run by the UN and are as you would expect – places of escape, where children participate in sports, arts and crafts, games and music.
However, there are other camps where parents should not be sending their children. These camps are run by Hamas where the teachers are members of Hamas’ military wing, the Al-Qassam brigades.
In these camps children learn skills such as hand-to-hand combat, a variety of weapon and firearm training (with live fire) and, of course, how to kidnap an Israeli soldier.
On top of this the children are taught the theology of Hamas and develop a desire to pursue the “liberation of Jerusalem”.
Contrary to what you might think, Hamas is not shy when it comes to promoting these camps. In fact, Hamas advertises them extensively, including through TV commercials. This year they wanted to encourage more girls to join the camps, so their advert featured young girls armed with AK-47 assault rifles singing a song about liberating al-Aqsa.
Hamas also invited the world’s press to attend these camps, and many did. Britain’s own ITV News visited the camps and released a report showing children jumping over burning tyres, crawling under barbed wire, wrestling each other to the ground and carrying out “tactical manoeuvres” in Hamas’ new feature for 2016, a purpose built terror tunnel for training exercises.
The terror tunnel was installed with lighting, sleeping facilities and a toilet and used to inspire children to become “tunnel men”. The tunnel was open to the press with various news crews filming their reports from inside and at the entrance to the tunnel.
This year Hamas claims they hosted 50,000 children at 120 camps across the Gaza strip. The UN estimates the number was around 35,000, but it is still a staggeringly large number of children who are being trained to fight Israel.
Videos of these camps started to emerge in 2008. In one of those early videos there is an 11-year-old boy who is interviewed and when asked what he does, he replies, “I am learning how to kill Jews.”
Seven years later that 11-year-old boy is now an 18-year-old man; the same age as the vast majority of Palestinians teenagers who have carried out stabbing attacks on innocent Israeli civilians during the recent uprising. Those same children being trained are the ones protesting and throwing rocks at Israeli forces and dreaming of ‘martyrdom’.
From birth, Palestinian children are being indoctrinated into an evil ideology that irrationally hates the Jewish people and blames Israel for everything wrong in their lives.
The world’s media continues to run the narrative that this is, somehow, Israel’s fault. They falsely claim that the Palestinian “resistance” is a “natural consequence” to Israel’s supposed “occupation”. This is wrong.
Blaming Israel for this hate will never bring about change. The responsibility clearly lies with Hamas and the Palestinian leadership to lay down their weapons, reject their anti-Semitic hate-filled ideology, and start training their children in the correct “way they should go”.
We must pray that this current generation of Palestinian children can break free from this doctrine of death.