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Hagalil school
Photo: Ronen Machlev
TA elementary school: No Arabs allowed
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." 

 

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