The cities of Tel Aviv, Ness Tziona and Givatayim on Sunday joined the list of Israeli cities which have decided to block Arab employees from entering schools during school hours, for security reasons.
According to Israel Radio, the mayors of Rehovot and Hod Hasharon last week prevented maintenance and cleaning Arab employees from doing their work during school hours due to the security situation and pressure from parents’ organizations. In a letter sent to parents in Rehovot it was stated that, based on instructions from Mayor Rahamim Malul, Arab employees are barred from entering educational institutions. A letter sent to parents in Hod Hasharon stated that the municipality would not permit entry of Arab maintenance workers to educational institutions during school hours.
The Rehovot municipality said in a statement that it is providing for the security of its residents. The Hod Hasharon municipality released a statement saying that due to the security situation, Mayor Hai Adiv ordered increased security around the city, including educational institutions. Israel Radio reported that schools in Jerusalem have taken the same measures.
In the Democratic School in Hod Hasharon there was two-hour strike Sunday morning, in solidarity with Arab workers, followed by a discussion with the students.
Following the revelation, MK Dov Hanin (Joint Arab List) demanded that the Knesset Interior Committee hold an emergency session. According to MK Hanin, under the guise of anxiety some are promoting dangerous moves of racial segregation. MK Issawi Frej (Meretz) said that the education system, instead of acting to calm the situation is spearheading the creation of discrimination and exclusion.
Last November, Ashkelon Mayor Itamar Shimoni faced nation-wide criticism when he decided, following sporadic Arab attacks on Jews in his city, to bar Arab employees from doing construction work in three kindergartens in the city during school hours. At the time, the Interior Ministry ordered the mayor to rescind his order.