Discrimination alleged as Israeli cities bar workers from schools
TEL AVIV, Israel – Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities have barred Jewish and Arab workers from schools due to fears of potential attacks, in a move criticized Sunday, October 18, as discrimination against Arab Israelis.
The decision to ban cleaning and maintenance workers from schools when students are present comes after more than two weeks of Palestinian unrest and knife attacks targeting Jews.
A spokeswoman for the Tel Aviv municipality confirmed the measure saying it applied to "both Jewish and Arab" workers and was taken due to the "sensitive situation".
However, public radio said the majority of such workers are Arab Israelis. It also reported that at least a half-dozen other municipalities had taken similar measures.
The decision raised further concerns of discrimination against Arab Israelis, who account for some 17.5 percent of the country's population.
"In days of raging incitement and hatred, the educational system should have spearheaded the battle against racism and led coexistence and partnership," Arab Israeli parliament member Issawi Freij said on his Facebook page.
"Instead it has become a source of racism and discrimination."
Arab Israelis are the descendants of Palestinians who remained after the creation of Israel in 1948. They are Israeli citizens and largely supportive of Palestinians in the occupied territories.
The stabbing attacks have provoked fear among Israelis, with around 30 having occurred since October 3. The attacks have been mainly committed by young Palestinians who seem to be acting on their own.
A combination of gun, knife and car attacks have killed seven Israelis and wounded dozens in the recent upsurge of violence.
Including alleged attackers, 41 Palestinians have died while hundreds have been wounded in clashes with Israeli security forces.
Security concerns have also hit Jerusalem schools, which saw a recent strike demanding guards work longer hours. The government agreed to the demand.
The attacks and unrest have raised fears of a full-scale Palestinian uprising. – Rappler.com