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December 1, 2023

Resources for Teaching About the Israel-Hamas War

Use this list of free educational resources to explore comprehensive ideas and strategies for teaching about the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

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Read the companion blog, “Building Historical Context: Understanding the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” here

Educating students about the Israel-Hamas war that began Oct. 7, 2023, requires a careful and balanced approach. Teachers should focus on the current dynamics of the conflict, including the reasons for ongoing tensions, the impact on the people involved and the efforts toward resolution. It is essential to present a nuanced view that considers the perspectives of both Israelis and Palestinians involved in the conflict. This approach can help foster critical thinking and empathy by encouraging students to understand the complexities and human aspects of the war.

With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of resources to help teachers address this topic in the classroom. These resources have been selected for their accuracy, cultural sensitivity and balanced perspective, providing educators with the tools to guide their students in developing informed opinions on the issue. Providing students with a clear and comprehensive understanding of these current events and their implications is the first step to bridging divides and fostering a more informed world.

Note to Educators

  • Ensure a Safe Space: Remind students to respect differing opinions and to approach the discussion with an open mind and empathy.
  • Facilitate Respectfully: Be mindful to navigate the discussion in a way that honors all perspectives and avoids perpetuating stereotypes or biases.
  • Support and Resources: Be prepared to provide additional resources or support for students who may find the discussion emotionally challenging.
  • Reflect: Allow time at the end of the discussion for students to share their reflections as well as what they’ve learned from the conversation.

Resources

destruction in Gaza

Teaching the Israel-Hamas War

Use this lesson plan from Close Up to discuss the complexities of international involvement in the Israel-Hamas war, the ethical and practical implications of foreign aid, the right to military action in response to citizen harm, and the handling of protests with sensitive political messages.

Access this resource here.
UN

How Do Humanitarian Corridors, Cease-Fires and Pauses Address Violence

In this CFR Education resource from World101, students will learn about the different ways to respond to a humanitarian crisis, support life-saving relief, and lessen the loss of civilian lives when deadly conflict breaks out.

Access this resource here.
Woman speaking

How Muslim and Jewish Faith Groups Are Coming Together During the Israel-Hamas War

The conflict in the Middle East has been a fraught subject for decades, including in the U.S., and especially within American Jewish and Muslim communities. And for almost as long, interfaith groups have sought to bring those communities together to find common ground. Learn more about interfaith conversations and bridging gaps in this lesson plan from PBS NewsHour Classroom.

Access this resource here.
War in Israel news

War Grips Israel After Surprise Hamas Attack

This PBS NewsHour Classroom current events lesson plan gives an overview of the events that initially sparked the latest struggle between Israel and Hamas. 

Access this resource here.
Israeli flag

Hamas Attack on Israel Kills Hundreds of People (2023)

This resource from ADL analyzes the initial attack on Israel that led to the ongoing war.

Access this resource here.
Teacher talking with students

Resources to Help Students Understand the Hamas Terrorist Attack and the Ensuing War

These resources from Facing History and Ourselves help guide classroom discussion about the attacks on Israel by Hamas, and the ensuing Israel-Hamas war.

Access this resource here.
children walking to school

Discussing War and Conflict: Resources for Educators, Parents and Caregivers

As images of war and conflict fill television screens and flood the internet right now, young people need the support of parents, caregivers and educators to grapple with their emotions and to understand the events. Use this resource from Learning for Justice to help facilitate crucial conversations and support young people.

Access this resource here.
Globe

U.S. Foreign Policy Decisions in the Israel-Hamas War

These lessons from Close Up explore the complex domestic policy, foreign policy and global issues connected to the Israel-Hamas war. 

Access this resource here.
Destruction in Gaza

Resources on the Israel-Hamas War

Are you looking for more resources on the Israel-Hamas war to use in the classroom? The CFR Education team has curated a list of resources to help students understand what’s happening in this conflict.

Access this resource here.
College campus

College Campuses Become Focus of Debate Over What Constitutes Free Speech

In this PBS NewsHour Classroom lesson, learn about threats on campus amid the Israel-Hamas war and discuss as a class: What obligations do campuses have to protect students from threatening speech? How should college administrations best foster a climate of free speech and student safety?

Access this resource here.

Resources on Antisemitism and Islamophobia

Here are some recent resources to help teach about antisemitism and Islamophobia. Additional resources are available on antisemitism and addressing hate and on addressing Islamophobia in the classroom.

Sen. Schumer

Sen. Chuck Schumer Speech on Antisemitism

Watch this speech from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer given on Nov. 29, 2023, addressing the rise of antisemitism in the U.S. Schumer, the nation's highest-ranking Jewish elected official, describes the recent spike in antisemitic incidents as a "crisis" and a "five-alarm fire” that must be extinguished. Then utilize the accompanying lesson plan.

Access this resource here.
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students thinking

Processing Antisemitism, Terror and War

Use this Facing History and Ourselves resource to help students process the antisemitic terrorist attacks by Hamas and the ongoing violence in Israel and Gaza.

Access this resource here.
teacher talking

Recognizing Bias Amid Hamas’ War on Israel

When violence is in the news, it’s important to watch out for biases that are present in and activated by news coverage and commentary. War and violence inspire strong emotions, which can activate conscious and unconscious biases about groups of people. Learn steps you can take to interrupt biased language with this ADL resource.

Access this resource here.

Closing

The Israel-Hamas war highlights humanity’s often repeated failures in resolving disputes peacefully. The echoes of similar struggles throughout history are stark reminders of the shortcomings that exist in human nature when coexisting in our shared home.

As educators, we must equip future generations with the requisite knowledge and critical thinking skills to grapple with such consequential global issues. By doing so, we can pave the way for more peaceful resolutions in the future. As this situation continues to develop, we will continue to update this blog with the newest resources from AFT Share My Lesson and our partner organizations.

Father of American Teen Killed in West Bank Discusses Son’s Death

Father of American Teen Killed in West Bank Discusses Son’s Death

This lesson plan from PBS NewsHour Classroom examines the killing of 17-year-old Tawfic Abdel Jabbar in the West Bank and why so many innocent civilians end up getting killed in war and conflicts. 

Access this resource here.

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Andy Kratochvil

Andy Kratochvil is an SML team member who loves hiking, scary books, Mexican food, and finding great content for the Share My Lesson community.He studied political science and French at California State University, Fullerton and received his Master’s in International Affairs from American University

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