It's rather strange that a Palestinian teacher would win the $1 million prize for the 2016 Global Teacher Prize in light of the fact that Palestinian children are groomed for anti-Semitism and violence against Jews under the tutelage of teachers and children's educational programming.
But that's exactly what happened to Hanan al-Hroub who is hailed as "inspirational to much of the world," according to The Washington Post. In Hroub's opinion, she has "dedicated her life to reducing violence" and tries to "create a safe, peaceful, loving environment" in her classroom.
She is said to teach in a "gritty public school" in a working-class area of the West Bank "where children often act out the violence they experience at home and in the streets."
But the violence stems from "stressed-out environments," Hroub said, and seeing "riots, raids, and death" every day.
Hroub's winning was announced by Pope Francis and her prize sponsored in part by the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates. She received accolades from Britain's Prince William and our very own Vice President Joe Biden. Hroub beat out thousands of entrants from around the world, making it to the final 10 with teachers from Japan, Australia, Pakistan, and the United States. As WaPo notes, "Israelis are not barred from entering, according to the rules, but attending the awards ceremony might have been problematic; the United Arab Emirates does not recognize the state of Israel."
Hroub describes her first through fourth graders as violent, disruptive, manipulative, controlling, and selfish. She has even been on the receiving end of their fists. To calm them, she says, she plays games with them, dons a clown wig and uses hand puppets to help them learn. She plans on using the money to open a scholarship for Palestinian teenagers and to help spread her "We Play and Learn" curriculum.
According to the report, Hroub decided to become a teacher "the day her husband was shot at by Israeli forces while driving their children home from school." It was October of 2000; "the beginning of the second intifada, which was marked by Palestinian suicide bomb attacks."
Palestinian Media Watch's director Itamar Marcus is skeptical of Hroub's peaceful claims:
Even if this teacher has been giving positive messages to her students, which is very welcome, when this honor is interpreted by the Palestinian Authority that its education system is accepted by the international community, this will cost many more people their lives.
Marcus explained that 25 of Palestine's schools are named after terrorists. The children that go to these schools, he says, all aspire to be like the people their schools are named after and their teachers don't discourage this. Hroub's school name is not mentioned.
However, Hroub faults Israeli soldiers for sewing the seeds of violence in her students:
The violence Palestinian children practice is a reaction to the violence practiced against them.
Palestine's education minister praised Hroub's award: "If something of this magnitude happens, the world can no longer ignore the right for Palestinians to prosper and be free."
Marcus's Palestinian watch organization notes that a map previously posted by the Union of Palestinian teachers claims Israel as Palestine and captioned it with, "Our enemies are the ones who will leave."