Turkey: US decision to open embassy in Jerusalem damaging peace

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. (AP)
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A United States flag flies over a complex belonging to the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, January 22, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 24 February 2018

Turkey: US decision to open embassy in Jerusalem damaging peace

ANKARA: Turkey on Saturday described as “extremely worrying” the US move to open its embassy in Jerusalem in May to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel.
Friday’s announcement by Washington to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to the disputed city follows US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December.
“This decision shows the US administration’s insistence on damaging the grounds for peace by trampling over international law, resolutions of UN Security Council on Jerusalem,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“Turkey will continue its effort to protect the legitimate rights of the Palestinian public ... against this extremely worrying decision by the US,” the ministry added.
Ankara said the decision showed the US does not hear, “and worse still, does not care about the voice of the international community’s conscience.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan led condemnation of the ruling in December and called an Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit of the leaders of Muslim nations in Istanbul shortly after Trump’s announcement last year.
The leaders urged the world to recognize East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.
East Jerusalem was annexed by Israel after it seized control of the area in the 1967 war, but the move has never been recognized by the international community.
Jerusalem is a city considered holy by Christians, Jews and Muslims and is perhaps the most sensitive issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Palestinian leadership on Friday said the US move, a year earlier than originally expected, was “a provocation to Arabs.”
The founding of Israel on May 14, 1948 is mourned by Palestinians as the Nakba, or “catastrophe” when an estimated 750,000 Palestinians either fled or were expelled from their homes in the war surrounding Israel’s creation.
Relations between Turkey and the US have already been strained over multiple issues including Ankara’s latest offensive in Syria against a US-backed Kurdish militia.
Although Erdogan has frequently criticized Israel’s policies, the two sides increased cooperation following the end of a rift in 2016 caused by Israel’s storming in 2010 of a Gaza-bound ship that left 10 Turkish activists dead.


Cairo turns to Tokyo for a lesson on education

Updated 23 August 2019

Cairo turns to Tokyo for a lesson on education

  • The Japanese education system is recognized as one of the top five worldwide

CAIRO: Egypt is seeking Japan’s help to improve its education system, which has fallen to 130th place in international rankings.

The Japanese education system is recognized as one of the top five worldwide, and Cairo is hoping to apply key aspects of Japan’s approach to the Egyptian curriculum.

Education has played a major role in transforming Japan from a feudal state receiving aid following World War II to a modern economic powerhouse. 

During a visit to Japan in 2016, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi discussed political and economic development with Japanese officials, and was also briefed on the Japanese education system.

The Egyptian leader visited Japanese schools and called on Japan to help Egypt introduce a similar system in its schools.  

As part of Egyptian-Japanese cooperation, Japan’s embassy established cultural cooperation as well as technical and professional education links between the two countries. Collaboration has been strengthened from kindergarten to post-university, with Japanese experts contributing in various education fields.

Japanese experts have held seminars in schools across the country, focusing on basic education. 

During one seminar, Japan highlighted the importance of enhancing education by playing games during kindergarten and primary school, encouraging children’s ability and desire to explore.  

Education expert Ola El-Hazeq told Arab News that the Japanese system focuses on developing students’ sense of collective worth and responsibility toward society. This starts with their surrounding environment by taking care of school buildings, educational equipment and school furniture, for example.

“Japanese schools are known for being clean,” El-Hazeq said. “The first thing that surprises a school visitor is finding sneakers placed neatly in a locker or on wooden shelves at the school entrance. Each sneaker has its owner’s name on it. This is a habit picked up at most primary and intermediate schools as well as in many high schools.”

Japanese students also clean their classrooms, collect leaves that have fallen in the playground and take out the garbage. In many cases, teachers join students to clean up schools and also public gardens and beaches during the summer holidays.

El-Hazeq added that neither the teachers nor the students find it beneath their dignity to carry out such chores.

The academic year in Japan continues for almost 11 months, different from most other countries, with the Japanese academic year starting on April 1 and ending on March 31 the following year.

Japan’s school days and hours are relatively longer in comparison with other countries. Usually the school day is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Teachers normally work until 5 p.m. but sometimes up to 7 p.m. Holidays are shorter than in other countries. Spring and winter holidays are no longer than 10 days, and the summer holiday ranges from 40 to 45 days.