Religious schools in Petah Tikva are refusing
to accept Ethiopian students, while there are those in the northern West Bank who would be happy to include them in their ranks. On Thursday, heads of the Samaria Regional Councils and the settlement of Paduel made an offer to the Education Ministry to absorb the immigrant students into their schools.
Paduel spokesman Yonah Goodman, said, "We are prepared to absorb the students in the town's schools. We would be happy and proud if this would indeed happen."
Samaria Regional Council head Gershon Mesika said that the settlers view taking in the students as a national mission. "No small number of immigrant families from Ethiopia has been absorbed in Samaria in recent years, and we are proud of this," said Mesika.
"We would be happy to absorb into our schools the students of the Ethiopian community, who, like those settling Judea and Samaria, have dedicated their souls to the Land of Israel in their making aliyah. The residents of Samaria are always dedicated to any mission, national or social, and would be happy to dedicate ourselves to this important mission as well," Mesika said.
Petah Tikva's municipal parents' association has threatened not to allow the school year to commence in the city if no appropriate solution is found for their 200 some odd Ethiopian students. This comes after it was revealed that only five out of some 20 religious educational institutions in the city are willing to accept the students.
The remaining religious schools in the city, which are privately run, have provided a variety of excuses not to take in the students. These schools are listed in the Education Ministry as "recognized, but unofficial institutions." Some of them are ultra-Orthodox, and some of them are national religious. They all receive State funding.
According to Mesika, Ethiopian students coming to Samaria will be absorbed into good schools, just "a stone's throw away" from the center of the country.
"There are public religious schools in Paduel and Yakir that, like all the education institutions in Samaria, are among the best in the country," he said. "The towns of Samaria are close to the center of the country. Paduel and Yakir are less than a 15 minute drive from Petah Tikva. That's even less time than traveling within the city with all the traffic jams."