Below are two stories from the Israeli press about the reaction of Jewish parents to the attempts by Arab/Palestinian parents to place their children in kindergartens. This is, of course symptomatic of the racism in Israeli society.
It is the racism that Roee Nahmias reported on
, from an opinion poll whereby over half of Israel’s Jewish population believes the marriage of a Jewish woman to an Arab man is national treason, over 75 percent opposed apartment buildings being shared between Arabs and Jews and 60% would not allow an Arab to visit their home.
Nahmias reported that some 40 percent of Israeli Jews believed that “Arabs should have their right to vote for Knesset revoked” and over half agreed that Israel should encourage its Arab citizens to immigrate from the country. The same proportion said they would not want to work under the direct management of an Arab, and 55 percent said “Arabs and Jews should be separated at entertainment sites”. Some 37 percent believed that “The Arab culture is inferior.”
What is the answer? Typical liberal palliatives, getting to know you sessions, liberal ‘racism awareness training’ etc. are worse than useless as long as it is the society itself that feeds these racist stereotypes.
By Haaretz Staff and Channel 10, 25.12.2008.
The opposition of a group of parents has caused a daycare in Moshav Merhavia to reject the registration of a young Arab toddler from a nearby village.
Mayssa and Shua’a from the village of Sulam, say they were warmly received by the teacher of the daycare when they told her they wanted to register their daughter, Dana.
But after making all the necessary payments, they received a disturbing phone call from the teacher. (see video on Ha’aretz site for the cowardice and racism of the Jewish parents).
No Arabs allowed
Meirav Shlomo, 12.8.08. Israel News
Parents at Hatikva neighborhood’ s Hagalil School outraged by decision to integrate Arab students in classes, say their concerns are for school’s academic level, not racially motivated.
Hagalil Elementary School in southern Tel Aviv’s Hatikva neighborhood has been the focal point of a new conflict between some of the parents and the administration.
The strife centers on the City School Board’s decision to integrate two Arab students in the school – a move which many of the parents oppose. Other parents, however, called their peers’ reaction racism.
Some of the Jewish students’ parents have said they intend to sign a petition calling to cease the admission of Arab students to the school, and that they will send the petition to the school administration and the City School Board.
The parents claim that the move is academically motivated and has nothing to do with racism, citing they are simply concerned that the academic level of the classes may drop, if students who are struggling with Hebrew are integrated in the school.
Legitimate concerns or racism?
Nevertheless, some of the parents have no problem speaking their mind: “We don’t want Arab students in our school and its not just us – our kids don’t want them in their classrooms,” said one of the mothers.
“The School Board already dumped the African kids here and now they’re bringing in the Arab kids without even telling us. They can’t speak Hebrew well, they’re having trouble in class and it’s hurting the academic level.
“Anyone who doesn’t understand the fuss over only two students should take a look at Hayarden School (another elementary school in the area). It started with a few students and all of a sudden the parents found that there are dozens of refugees in the school. That’s what brought it (academically) down,” she said.
But not all parents share this opinion. “This is outrageous,” said one of the fathers. “We just don’t understand these parents. It’s sad to realize we’re living in a racist, ugly society. We welcome the Arab students.”
Hagalil Elementary School Principal Yael Blocka declined comment.
The Ministry of Education and the Tel Aviv City School Board offered the following:
“The students in question are Arab girls who live in the neighborhood and belong in the school according to the school registration areas. They have the right to attend Hagalil School, just as any other student living in the area. The parents’ complaints are unjustified. ”