President Peres (archives)
Photo: AFP

Peres urges youth to protest against discrimination

President calls on young leaders to travel to Petah Tikva, demonstrate against failure to integrate 102 students of Ethiopian descent in local religious schools

President Shimon Peres on Thursday called on young leaders to protest against the failure to integrate 102 students of Ethiopian descent in religious schools in Petah Tikva, on the backdrop of threats made by parents' committees in the city not to open the school year.


Speaking at a conference of the Lead project in the Kfar Maccabiah Hotel, the president told 400 10th graders, "If I were you, I would get on a bus and travel to Petah Tikva immediately, to demonstrate against those opposing the integration of Ethiopian students in three of the city's schools."


Asked by one of the teenagers about ways to influence social procedures in the country, Peres said, "Let me give you a concrete example – the refusal to admit Ethiopian students into schools is a disgrace no person in Israel can accept.


"As the president of this state, I strongly condemn it and hope the school year will open as planned in Petah Tikva and that no discrimination against any student will be allowed in the State of Israel. The youth has a huge amount of power in pushing processes forward, so don't hesitate – make your voices heard."


The forum of unofficial recognized schools in Petah Tikva said in response that the president should study the facts before talking.


"We invite the honorable President Peres to arrive at our three schools on September 1 in his official vehicle, and see that the school has students who emigrated from Ethiopia, as well as disabled students. From there we recommend that the president visit 40 other schools in the city of Petah Tikva, where he will not find even one Ethiopian immigrant.


"Our schools absorb and will continue to absorb students without any discrimination, only in accordance with the criteria approved by the Education Ministry," the forum said in a statement.


Meanwhile, the three schools that refused to admit Ethiopian students have been called for a hearing at the Education Ministry. The school's principals, who did not attend the hearing scheduled for Thursday, announced that they have no intention of attending the next hearing as well.


פרסום ראשון: 08.27.09, 18:05
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