Parents of Israeli high school students from the coastal region were left furious, after a letter making the outrageous comparison between genocidal Nazi troops and IDF soldiers was read last week during an organized youth trip to the Auschwitz death camp in Poland.
The letter was written by a 25-year-old educator and coordinator of Ha'ihud Hahakla'i (the Agricultural Union), a youth movement founded in 1978 from the socialist movement of the same name that has been active developing agricultural settlements since the 1920s. The movement on its website describes itself as "apolitical."
The coordinator of the socialist youth group sent the letter with several of the students in the high school class visiting Auschwitz who belong to the group. Reportedly after one of the students showed the letter to the teacher he was encouraged to read it to the class, which he did, according to Walla!.
"What would I do if I was a Nazi captain asked to do inhumane acts?" the letter read. "These questions are particularly relevant to us in these days in light of the topic of occupied territories, the war with Hamas, the refugees arriving to us from the Egyptian border and more."
The educator then wrote clearly "what is the difference between the Nazi soldier that doesn't refuse orders and the Israeli soldier who doesn't refuse orders?"
Parents were furious at the attempt to compare the army defending the Jewish people with soldiers committing genocide against the Jewish nation.
"This is an illegitimate discussion. Someone who says things like this shouldn't work as an educator," one of the parents told the Hebrew-language paper. "The parents need to know what they're sending their kids to and what messages they're hearing."
Ha'ihud Hahakla'i released a statement in response to the incident condemning the comparison, saying the coordinator "got confused and made a mistake," and that they spoke with him about it. The statement said he would talk to his students explaining the incident.
"The comparison made between Nazi soldiers and IDF soldiers is invalid," said a representative of the movement. "As a Zionist youth movement we educate love of the land (of Israel), responsibility for the Israeli society, and action to make it equal and just. All of our educators serve in the IDF, including in the most advanced combat units, even last summer (in Operation Protective Edge)."
The high school has denied that the letter was read at an official ceremony during the trip or that the teachers supported the letter, although it added the topic will be thoroughly investigated.
The incident brings to mind the case of Adam Verete, who was fired in May after earlier in the year causing a storm for pressing a far-left communist ideology in class, calling the IDF "immoral" and saying Israel belonged "to the Arabs."