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The Specter of Racism Hangs Over Bennett's New Educational Plan That Must Be Scrapped

Instead of helping to fight discrimination by improving conditions at Arab schools or integrating more Arab teachers into Jewish classrooms, Bennett and the rest of the ministry have chosen to fund Arab trainees less than Jewish ones.

A looming shadow of discrimination hovers over the Education Ministry’s decision to give Arab teacher trainees in the Galilee less funding than their Jewish peers. The decision is the latest in a series of official disparities that have existed for many years in the funding and educational autonomy of Israel’s Arab population and its Jewish one.
In contending with the problem of a surplus of Arab teachers who are unable to find work, the ministry that Naftali Bennett heads chose an ill-conceived plan that should never have been hatched.
It seems that the Education Ministry finds it difficult to assume responsibility for all of Israel’s citizens, irrespective of religion or ethnicity. It is imperative that the appropriate public and legal authorities remind the ministry of this obligation.
Based on the plan, reported by Yarden Skop in Thursday’s Haaretz, every Arab student in the north will be funded at about half the rate of funding for a Jewish student – approximately 14,000 shekels (about $3,600) as opposed to 25,000 shekels ($6,440). The reason, according to Education Ministry director general Eyal Ram, is that despite the surplus of Arab teachers, “many continue to choose to study teaching anyway,” – the pedagogical equivalent of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pre-election “the Arabs are heading in droves to the polls” speech. Bennett and Netanyahu can be pleased: The spirit of the commander has trickled down.
Before reducing funding for Arab students, the ministry should have examined the other possibilities, such as increasing the number of Arab teachers in Jewish schools. Currently, there are only a few hundred, many of whom teach Arabic. Such a step could strike a major blow against racism in Israel, which usually stems from a sense of foreignness and alienation. To advance such a possibility, quotas should be set for employing Arab teachers in Jewish schools for a variety of subjects, besides Arabic.
If the desire to reduce alienation and create a better shared life for Jews and Arabs is not a top priority for Bennett and his people, at least they could have opted for another goal: improving conditions in Arab schools, by reducing overcrowding in classrooms and adding teaching hours. Both these solutions — hiring Arab teachers in Jewish schools or enhancing conditions in Arab schools — would call for hiring many more Arab teachers. The Education Ministry has rejected such proposals in the past as too costly. Instead of dealing creatively with this distress, the ministry has chosen to hurt the very population that is already discriminated against in so many spheres. This plan should be speedily scrapped.

Haaretz Editorial

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/1.729667

Schermata 2016 07 10 alle 09.38.43

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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