Parents bar entrance of Arab caregivers to daycare in central Israel

Dozens of parents arrive to protest hiring of Arab Israelis, claiming they cannot speak Hebrew and don't have proper qualifications; Holon daycare staff say racism and discrimination behind outrage

Hadar Gil-Ad|
Parents blocked the entrance to a daycare for young children in central Israel on Tuesday, while demanding that Arab caregivers who recently were hired be let go.
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  • The parents claimed they didn't know Arab women worked at the Naamat preschool in Holon, and had been hired without their consent.
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    ההורים מחוץ לגן
    ההורים מחוץ לגן
    Parents blocking daycare's entrance
    (Photo: Nadav Abas)
    Hagit Peer, head of the Naamat organization blames "racism and discrimination" for the parents' outrage. "[Racism] has no place here. It’s shameful. We will protect every worker’s right regardless of their ethnicity or religious beliefs. It’s astounding that this needs to be made clear in Israel in 2022. The daycare’s staff had to push the distress button due to feeling threatened.”
    A Facebook group called Holon Forum quickly filled with comments from angry residents of the city who backed the parents. Noy Levi wrote: “The daycare hired four caregivers from east Jerusalem who don’t know Hebrew, and didn’t go through security screenings. They have neither the required qualifications to care for children, nor were they evaluated by a social worker.”
    He added: “The parents weren't told about this. The caregivers were hired without the parent’s consent and knowledge.
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    ההורים מחוץ לגן
    ההורים מחוץ לגן
    Parents blocking daycare's entrance
    (Photo: Nadav Abas)
    “The caregivers congregated in the bathroom throughout the day and laughed about tasks given to them by veteran employees,” Levi said. “This morning, a large group of parents arrived at the daycare in order to settle the matter with the preschool's director."
    Levi added: “We are faced with a complete lack of understanding and empathy. The director welcomed the caregivers into the daycare despite of our protests. We didn’t allow them to enter the facility. Parents are afraid that the caregivers will be brought back once we leave.”
    Tova Sinai, a pedagogical supervisor at the Naamat organization, said despite the protest, the activities inside the preschool continue as usual. “Parents are standing outside of the daycare and trying to elaborate on their disapproval of hiring Arab workers.”
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    ההורים מחוץ לגן
    ההורים מחוץ לגן
    Naamat organization logo
    (Photo: Nadav Abas)
    She added: “These caregivers were interviewed by Naamat and the daycare’s director. They passed the interview. One of them has sufficient qualifications, which are usually earned through the work itself. That’s the current state of preschool education in Israel.”
    Carmel Eitan, the spokeswoman for Naamat organization, said she was shocked by the demonstration. "Some 20 parents arrived this morning and won’t allow the caregivers to come in. To my understanding, they were inside their cars for a long while. Parents questioned them, and asked for their IDs.”
    She added: “Parents are grasping at straws, saying the caregivers don’t know Hebrew, and aren’t qualified for the job. Most of the caregivers are trained at work. They are good, dedicated and loving caregivers.”
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