- There are indications of ever-closer bonds to Russia, including study of the Russian language which has recently become a compulsory language choice and appreciation of all things Russian, possibly indicating a continued alliance after the civil war ends. Russia emerges from the curriculum as a close ideological and cultural friend and ally.
- Syrian national identity is based on the principles of struggle to realize a single Arab nation that includes all Arab states, constituting one country, the “Arab Homeland.” This pan-Arab ideology places secular nationalism and devotion to a radical struggle at the forefront.
- There is no room for Israel—dubbed the “Racist/Terrorist/Zionist Entity.” Anti-Semitic motifs such as stereotypical references to the character of Shylock from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice are to be found. The Holocaust is ignored. Textbooks teach that Israel is a terrorist state and therefore all means are legitimate in the war against it, including terror and suicide attacks. Still, the option of land for peace within the framework of a comprehensive agreement is preserved, but hidden.
- The long civil war has not softened the portrayal in the curriculum of Syria’s radical national identity. Much that relates to the war is ignored. The ethos is of a natural disaster that demands mobilization and individual contribution.
- While the curriculum encourages free-thinking, is secular in outlook and has separate books for Christian education, it does not meet UNESCO-derived standards on peace and tolerance apart from the standard of gender equality. It professes an ideology that is exclusionary, militaristic and authoritarian.