"If the Lod City Council will ignore us, we'll continue this long battle," warned the chairman of the local parents committee.
Just last week the State destroyed tends and caravans put up by the Abu Eid family in Lod, nearly three months after the demolition of seven illegal structures built there. "We think it's the right thing to protest against the cruel behavior of the police and the city council policy against Arab residents," the parents committees wrote.
The parents committees demand Lod city council began developing the Arab neighborhoods and their infrastructure. "We're fed up with promises and discussion, we want actions," wrote the parents. They criticized the city council, saying "it ignores important issues such as Junior High School bus rides and renovating the burned down garden at the local elementary school Al-Zahra as well as attempts to close down an El-Ola Junior High School for reasons unknown."
Demolition of homes in Lod last December (Photo: Alarab.net)
The chairman of the local parents committee in Lod told Ynet: "About 7,000 students are on strike today because of the treatment the Abu Eid family received by police and by the Lod city council. They destroyed their lives after they demolished their homes. It's a racist message to all of the Lod residents."
He added that Arab schools in Lod suffer from neglect and nothing is being done to improve the situation. According to him, there are classes consisting of 42 students which harm their academic achievements. "If Lod's city council doesn't take notice, we'll continue to fight," he warned.
'Violence causes violence'
The chairman of another school's parents committee told Ynet that the school strike is intended to show their support of the Abu Eid family. "They haven't been able to attend school for months after their homes were destroyed, with all of their cloths and school equipment," he explained.
"We teach our children not to use violence but on the other hand the police is the only one responsible for spreading violence," he added. "They are violent towards Arabs in Lod and this behavior will only cause more violence and killing."
He claimed that Lod's city council is trying to shutdown El-Ola Junior High School, attended by over 300 students. "We still don't know why they want to close it, though we're sure they can come up with a thousands different reasons to make their dreams come true – destroying Arab education in Lod."
In response to the issue police said to turn to the Education Department at Lod's City Council for answers. Lod Transitional Committee Chairman Meir Nitzan said he frowns upon the decision to hold a school strike: "I'm sorry that these extreme elements incite the atmosphere and involve students in matters of the law, hurting their academics. Those who believe such protests will cause us to change our minds are wrong."
"The Knesset's Internal Affairs and Environment Committee adopted the policy I follow today. I'm not here to destroy existing homes without first finding a solution for the families," added Nitzan. "On the other hand, I can't put up with illegal construction and I'll act without hesitation in order to immediately destroy any new illegal structure."
Referring to the educational claims it was said: "The policy led by Meir Niztan is equalitarian and without any discrimination. These days construction work costing about NIS 45 million (Over $12 million) is being done to build new educational institutes for the Arab population in Lod. Mr Nitzan believes in high quality education for all the city kids in the spirit of their religion, family and culture, based on the core professions taught by the Education Ministry."
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