The High Court of Justice on Sunday gave the government another year to terminate an education budget allocation system it previously deemed discriminatory against Israel's Arab population.
The court cast harsh criticism on the state for not implementing its order to scrap the system. In February 2006, following an appeal lodged by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, the court ruled that the use of "national priority areas" in determining education budgets discriminated against Israel's Arab population and determined that the state abandon the system by February 2007.
However, the state asked for an additional seven months to implement the ruling, saying it had already begun the process of setting alternative criteria for the allocation of the educational budget.
In June 2008 the High Court held an additional hearing on the implementation of the verdict, in which the state claimed that the Ministry of Education was gradually working towards doing so. The plaintiffs said in response that the state should be held in contempt of the court of failing to act. On Sunday, after it was became apparent that the state has still yet to implement the ruling, the judges too lost their patience.
"The matter brought before us is a grave example of the liberties assumed by the state in failing to carry out the ruling of this court. We believe that the remaining allotted time is enough to allow the state to decide how it should organize its budget to implement our decision, and it would be fitting for the relevant figures in the Education Ministry and outside it to respect the jural duty required of the state," the judges wrote.
The judges further said that the state appears to have treated the court's ruling as a recommendation the ministry would carry out at a time of its own choosing rather than an urgent binding order.
However despite this harsh rebuke, the judges ordered the implementation of their original ruling be postponed till September 2009 so as not to disrupt the current school year.