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Dec 31, 2018

Al Zarnouq's kids need a high school closer to home

Al Zarnouq pupils: "High school = 0 dropout rate"
Al Zarnouq pupils: "High school = 0 dropout rate"

Dear friends,

This past quarter, Adalah has been fighting on behalf of the community of Al Zarnouq, an unrecognized village in the Naqab (Negev) home to around 5,000 Bedouin citizens of Israel, to help hundreds of its kids #MakeTheGrade.

There are currently about 450 high school-aged pupils in the village, many of whom have achieved excellent academic standards through grades 1 to 8 – and many more kids are growing up to follow in their footsteps.

But there is a major problem: Al Zarnouq has no high school of its own.

Because Israel refuses to recognize the village, the state has long denied basic rights and services to the Bedouin residents unless compelled to by legal actions from groups like Adalah. These denied services include electricity, water, sewers, safe roads – and schools.

Thanks to Adalah's interventions nearly two decades ago, an elementary school with all basic amenities was opened in Al Zarnouq in 2000, which today serves some 1,000 students from grades 1 through 8, and another 470 kindergarten students aged three to five.

However, once the students graduate from 8th grade, they are forced to leave Al Zarnouq every day – often from early morning until late at night – in order to study at high schools in other distant villages dozens of kilometers away. This long trek is compounded by the problem of overcrowded classrooms and sub-standard conditions in those schools.

These factors have led to a sharp decline in academic success and to a worrying dropout rate once the students enter high school. This, in turn, severely damages these youths' ability to pursue university studies and to find work in the future.

As such, in November 2018, Adalah sent a letter to Israeli authorities demanding that they open a high school in Al Zarnouq, reminding them that the state has an obligation under the Compulsory Education Act (1949) to help all its citizens fulfil their right to accessible and quality education.

Adalah even specified an exact location in Al Zarnouq that would be suitable for the construction of the high school, noting that there are no zoning or planning obstacles to prevent it from being built.

We are prepared to launch further legal interventions in court if the Israeli authorities refuse to comply. And for that to succeed, we need your support.

Will you increase your donation today to help Al Zarnouq's kids #MakeTheGrade, and to bring their high school closer to home?

Dec 19, 2018

Lod residents win right to march freely after police retract restrictions

Protesting violence against women, Dec. 2018
Protesting violence against women, Dec. 2018

Dear friends,

We have another win! Thanks to your support this past quarter, Adalah succeeded to #ProtectTheProtest for hundreds of Palestinian citizens of Israel in the central city of Lod (Lydd).

The backstory: in November 2018, a police commander in Lod carried out the demolition of a Palestinian citizen’s home, in violation of a court order to delay the move. During the demolition itself, the commander also allowed his officers to violently evict and arrest the residents in the area.

To protest these unjust actions, the city’s Palestinian citizens, led by the Lod Popular Committee, requested the police’s permission to march along a specific route that would arrive at the parking lot opposite the police station – a route that is frequently used by many protests in the city.

However, the police refused to grant a permit for the route, claiming they had concerns that the protest would “disturb public order and harm the fabric of life.”

The police instead approved a different, unsuitable route that would have hidden the protest from the public eye and limited the space to accommodate only 150 people, instead of the hundreds rallied by the organizers.

Adalah immediately intervened with a pre-petition on the protestors’ behalf. We told the police that their decision was illegal and violated the right of the city’s Palestinian citizens to freely assemble and express their opinions.

Thanks to our legal action, the Israeli police folded – the restrictions were retracted, and the Palestinian residents were allowed to lead their march as planned!

Successes like these are made possible by your donations. Will you increase your monthly support for Adalah’s work today?

In additional news – Adalah took part in a protest as well!

On 4 December 2018, our staff joined a country-wide strike to protest all forms of violence against women in Israel – physical, sexual, moral, and economic – at the hands of society and state institutions alike.

Like other Palestinian citizens, we also protested the violence aimed at women in the occupied Palestinian territories by both Israeli occupation forces and society.

Our actions reflect our commitment to upholding Palestinians’ right to speak out against all social injustices. Raise your support for Adalah today to #ProtectTheProtest!

Protest against police commander in Lod, Nov. 2018
Protest against police commander in Lod, Nov. 2018
Protesting violence against women, Dec. 2018
Protesting violence against women, Dec. 2018
Oct 1, 2018

The Long Road to School

School bus stuck in mud on the Al-Fur'a road
School bus stuck in mud on the Al-Fur'a road

Dear Friends, 

Greetings to you from Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. 

The new school year has just begun in Israel, and one of the main issues that Adalah will continue to work on during the 2018-2019 school year is access to school, particularly for Arab Bedouin kids in the Naqab (Negev) desert. 

As we have reported previously, Adalah has worked extensively on ensuring transport to school for pre-school aged Arab Bedouin children, and we will continue in the coming months to confront the Education Ministry to abide by its promises to allocate the funds necessary for access to early childhood education, as required by Israeli law. We will also monitor the Ministry’s obligations, pursuant to court orders, to build safe bus stops for the thousands of Bedouin kids who need a secure place to wait for their buses to school, out of harms way. 

In addition to these obstacles to access schools, Adalah is also working on cases to compel various Israeli ministries and local authorities to repair often-impassable school access roads in Bedouin villages. These roads become dangerous, particularly in the winter due to heavy rains, and block students’ and teachers’ ability – unnecessarily - to even get to school. 

One case on which we are working is that the road to school in Al-Fur’a village. At the beginning of 2018, Adalah sent a letter to the Education Ministry, the Al Qasoum Regional Council, the national transport infrastructure company Netivei Israel, and the Bedouin Negev Development and Settlement Authority, demanding that they repair a narrow, pothole-riddled school access road that is often submerged in water during heavy winter rains and connect it to Highway 31.

Al-Fur’a – recognized by the state in 2006 – is home to some 6,000 residents. Around 3,000 children from Al-Fur’a and neighboring Bedouin communities attend kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, and high school in the village.

In response to a petition filed to the Israeli Supreme Court by Adalah and Al-Fur’a residents many years ago, the state committed to repairing the access road and made a subsequent such commitment when faced with a contempt of court motion filed by residents before the court.

Nevertheless, the schools today remain connected to Highway 31 only via a cracked and often impassable 600-meter long “agricultural track” that is riddled with potholes. 

Adalah Attorney Myssana Morany wrote in her letter that the state has been violating its commitments to the court for years:

“Connecting [the schools] to the highway interchange via an agricultural track does not satisfy the state’s commitments made before the Supreme Court, which has already ruled that ‘agricultural tracks are not to be considered ‘statutory roads’, and are therefore not considered roads at all… Village residents are reporting difficulties for vehicles – particularly school buses – when winter conditions create potholes in the track making it inaccessible. The track is also too narrow for two vehicles traveling in opposite directions to drive down at the same time. Further, during days of heavy rain, the track becomes entirely submerged and completely impassable.” 

Adalah also stressed that the agricultural track presents a danger to local schoolchildren:

“The current situation threatens students’ lives and violates their constitutional rights to dignity and equality, as well as their right to education, as enshrined in the Compulsory Education Law. It is clear to all that an agricultural track is not a safe way to get students to school and that an asphalt access road must be paved in accordance with the relevant standards.”

Adalah will take legal measures in the coming period to follow-up on the Al-Fur’a road to school case, as well as other infrastructure/road problems in the Bedouin villages in order to ensure access to schools for children. If Bedouin kids cannot even get to school, they are being deprived totally of their right to an education.  

We thank you in advance for your continued support of Adalah’s work to uphold the right to education for Palestinian children, citizens of Israel, throughout the country.  We appreciate you generosity.  

In solidarity,

Rina Rosenberg (Jabareen)

International Advocacy Director, Adalah

Bedouin girls on their way to school (Naqab)
Bedouin girls on their way to school (Naqab)
 
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