An ethnic affair: Arab childminders removed at Jewish parents' demand

Women's organization's kindergarten claims racist parents prompted the reassigning of Arab citizens to another location and in a Facebook post, one parent cites the caregiver's hijab as a reason for her demand

Two Arab citizens employed as childminders by the Na'amat Woman's organization in one of its kindergartens were sacked on Tuesday and were said to be reassigned elsewhere at the urging of parents. The organization said the demand was racially motivated but the parents claimed the women were insufficiently trained and did not speak a good enough Hebrew to care for their kids.
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"Our problem is not their faith, it's about their qualification and language," one mother told Ynet. "It doesn't matter if they're Jewish or Arab, what does matter is that they have the proper qualification to be working with toddlers. As parents, we are willing to step in and fill their positions temporarily, but you cannot bring in a team of caretakers who are unacquainted with the language and their authorization to work with young kids, is a month away."
Parents block kindergarten entrance to Arab workers last year
Officials at Na'amat confirmed that only one of the employees is new, while the other has three years of on-the-job experience. They further emphasize that because there is a staffing shortage, part of their training is on the job. Each new caretaker has one year of training before she has to successfully pass a course.
After the caretakers were let go, one of the mothers posted on Facebook that the children must not be part of an experiment. "They're wearing a hijab where all you can see is their eyes. The management should be ashamed of themselves. They wanted to set some sort of precedent in our kindergarten by introducing Arab workers for the first time," she wrote.
The story went viral on social media on Tuesday, and in response, Na'amat informed parents of children in their care that Arab workers are integrated successfully in locations around the country. "We cannot disqualify an employee simply because of heritage or religion, not to mention that such discrimination is against the law. We appeal to you to accept the new caretakers and get to know them on a personal level, rather than basing your claims on their appearance, which has little to do with their capabilities," the organization said.
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פשוט סייעות ערביות ממעון ביבנה
פשוט סייעות ערביות ממעון ביבנה
One of the caretakers removed by racist parents
(Photo: Facebook)
"We're talking about the behavior of some of the parents that is primarily illegal. Unfortunately, this incident ended with the caregivers having to leave after such an inhospitable welcome they received from some of the parents in what turned out to be a shameful episode. Na'amat is determined to be mindful of the rights of all caretakers and social workers, to find employment regardless of heritage, or religion and has secured new positions for the two women. We will continue to employ staff from a diverse ethnic makeup throughout Israel."
In a similar incident last year, parents blocked the entrance to a Na'amat kindergarten in the central city of Holon, to prevent four Arab caregivers from East Jerusalem from entering the facility, demanding their immediate dismissal. Some of the parents then claimed their protests stemmed from the lack of security checks for those workers and the fact that they were not qualified.
"This is a racist act that stems from nationalistic views and has little to do with our qualification or experience", one of the workers said.
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