Equal education for every child in Nazareth Illit!


Dear Friends,

“I am a resident of Nazareth Illit, and while I pay taxes to the municipality, I have three children who go to school in another city. The State of Israel has a compulsory education law which gives all children the right to learn in school, and I am therefore determined to establish an Arab school in my city” says Rushdie Salima, a parent from Nazareth Illit.
This week, ACRI Attorney Raghad Jaraisy submitted a petition on behalf of Salima, other parents and children from Nazareth Illit and the Mossawa Center, demanding the establishment of the first government sponsored Arab school in the city.
A group of parents, together with ACRI, Shatil and other organizations have been fighting this struggle for years. Although 2,600 Arab students live in Nazareth Illit, there is not a single school that teaches in Arabic. Many students have no choice but to travel to Nazareth and nearby villages every day in order to gain a proper education in their own language – while most, if not all, of their Jewish neighbours learn in government sponsored schools within the city.
Over the years, the request to establish an Arab school in the city has been met with unrelenting refusal from the mayor of Nazareth Illit, and backed by the Ministry of Education. The former mayor, Shimon Gapso explicitly said that he refused to establish an Arab school as he wanted to preserve the Jewish character of the city. The municipality has ignored the rights of 19% of the population and has not fulfilled its duty and responsibility to these residents under the law. The resources that the city allocates towards education, some of which come from taxes paid by the Arab residents, are distributed unequally and are mostly spent on the education of Jewish children in the city.
Recently, following a petition by ACRI, the municipality of Nazareth Illit has recognized its obligation to make municipal libraries accessible in Arabic and to include Arabic books and activities. I hope that the municipality will recognize its Arab residents in this case as well – rather than continuing to ignore them, and that their right to education, dignity and equality will be equal to the rest of the city’s residents.


Sharon Abraham-Weiss
Executive Director
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel
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Categories: Arab Citizens of Israel, Arab Minority Rights, The Right to Education, The Right to Equality

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