Teaching is never merely a technical, pedagogical issue. This is especially true of Arabic teaching in Israel. Two related factors have conditioned the evolution of Arabic instruction in Israel in various, often contradictory ways. One is the Zionist modernist project of inventing a Jewish nation by bracketing off Jews from gentiles and reconstituting them as a distinct Hebraic ethno-linguistic community. The other is the project of securing historic Palestine as an exclusive national homeland for this newly invented nation and the consequent ambivalence toward Arab existence in historic Palestine. Both make up what I term Zionist sectarianism, and their influence on Arabic pedagogy has been decisive and pervasive, yet contradictory and unpredictable, demonstrating that although practice is always political, it is never mechanically reducible to its political underpinnings.