University mentor program rejects Arab student - Israel News, Ynetnews

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Perach mentoring program
Perach mentoring program 

University mentor program rejects Arab student

Arab student rejected by Perach because 'Jewish families won't accept Arab mentor for their kids'

Yaheli Moran Zelikovich
Published: 11.24.09, 00:35 / Israel News

An Arab student who wanted to enroll in a university mentoring program told Ynet Monday that he had been rejected by the program's sponsors because of his race.


Perach leaders told the student, M., that he would not be able to mentor Jewish children eligible for assistance because this would constitute a "violation of protocol".


M., a student at Beersheba's Ben Gurion University, decided to enroll in the program early in the academic year, but upon attempting to do so he was informed that all positions in the Arab sector had been filled.


When he asked if he could mentor a Jewish child, M. was told that he could not because the Jewish families involved in the program would protest such a move.


"It was incredibly insulting. I really wasn't expecting it," M. told Ynet. "I signed up for Perach thinking there was no difference between the sectors, and was very surprised when they didn't even call me in for an interview because of the claim that parents don't want an Arab mentor for their children."


M. sent a letter of protest to the organization's southern branch, and received a response that such a thing would violate protocol.


Deputy chairman of the Student Union and a member of Perach's board of directors, Itzik Shmuli, was shocked by the story.


"We have the obligation to investigate how such a shameful incident occurred within an educational program," he said, adding that Perach would make sure the incident would not repeat itself.


"I want to stress that I am not familiar with any such protocol at Perach. As a student, I personally mentored a mixed group of Jews and Arabs," Shmuli said.


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