Jordan: Teacher fired for teaching Hebrew ‘to know Israel’

A teacher who taught a beginners’ Hebrew course at Jordan’s Petra University was fired from his post this week, after he told his students that Hebrew language would help them understand Israeli culture, Army Radio reports Monday.

When questioned why they should get to know Israeli culture, the teacher replied that “Israel is a neighboring country and we have a peace agreement with it.”

One of 22 students per class, Ayman al-Ma’mun, was particularly incensed about the remarks; al-Ma’mun told him that he had come to learn Hebrew so that if he wanted, he could carry out an attack against Jews and Israelis.

The clash devolved into a loud argument, in which al-Ma’mun boasted he could still stay at the university for years despite his views.

The student was subsequently removed from class, but then took the issue to his Facebook page, blaming “Zionism” and complaining about the teacher to the university’s administration.

He and his classmates rallied for his teacher’s dismissal; Petra University could not withstand the pressure, and fired the teacher two days later.

Media outlets in Jordan did not approach the teacher himself for comment.

Former Israeli ambassador to Jordan, Oded Eran, noted that this was not an unusual occurrence from what he saw while he served in the post.

“Most of the professional associations – journalists, doctors, lawyers – all of them [in Jordan are] anti-Israel,” he said, adding that some of this has to do with the Palestinian population’s predominant presence in Amman. The majority of Jordanians citizens and residents are in fact Palestinians.

“We are scapegoat,” said the former ambassador, adding that there are few who are willing to expose themselves and prove that there is interest among much of the Jordanian population to maintain ties with Israel.