Help Palestinian Students in Israel #MakeTheGrade

by Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel
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Help Palestinian Students in Israel #MakeTheGrade
Help Palestinian Students in Israel #MakeTheGrade
Help Palestinian Students in Israel #MakeTheGrade
Help Palestinian Students in Israel #MakeTheGrade
Help Palestinian Students in Israel #MakeTheGrade
Help Palestinian Students in Israel #MakeTheGrade
Help Palestinian Students in Israel #MakeTheGrade
Learning English in Ramla. Photo: US Emb. Tel Aviv
Learning English in Ramla. Photo: US Emb. Tel Aviv

Dear friends and supporters,

We have great news!

Thanks to your support for our work, we achieved an important victory in protecting the education rights of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel.

Following a series of legal letters submitted by Adalah, the Israeli Education Ministry announced in late December 2016 that it will cancel a funding plan that discriminated against Arab trainees who are enrolled in teacher certification programs.

The Ministry’s plan would have granted Arab trainee teachers just 56% of the 25,000 shekels (approx. $6,500) that is budgeted annually per Israeli Jewish trainee teachers.

The Ministry claimed that this discriminatory policy was intended to reduce the number of Arab citizens studying to be teachers, due to high rates of unemployment amongst Arab teachers, particularly women.

In challenging the plan, Adalah argued that the Ministry’s plan essentially legitimized separate and unequal funding to Arab trainee teachers on the basis of their nationality and ethnic origin. The plan would also further widen the budget gap between colleges that trained only Arab students, and colleges that trained Jewish and Arab students. The Arab education system would ultimately suffer greatly as a result of this unjust policy.

Thanks to your help, we have ensured that aspiring Arab teachers in Israel will receive equal support from the government as they prepare to educate today’s young generation of Arab citizens, and as they help Arab students #MakeTheGrade for years to come.

Following the positive decision, Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher stated that: “We will continue to monitor the Education Ministry’s actions to ensure that this funding plan is indeed cancelled, and we will act to ensure that similar moves are not implemented in the future.”

Your contributions to our project are vital to sustaining these actions. Help us to continue defending Arab students’ and teachers’ rights as they #MakeTheGrade in 2017.

Photo credit: US Embassy Tel Aviv - ACCESS program in Ramla, Israel

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Siraj, 4, from alSira will soon be in school!
Siraj, 4, from alSira will soon be in school!

Thank you so much for your kind donation to bring equality in education for Palestinian children and youth. The following is an update on what Adalah has been working on and has achieved in the past quarter to help Palestinian children #MakeTheGrade.

1. Increasing access to education for Bedouin preschoolers

Earlier this year, Adalah filed a new impact litigation case to compel the Israeli Education Ministry to provide preschool education for the children of the unrecognized Bedouin village of Alsira. In September, we learned that in part owing to our petition, the Education Minister announced that the government would be investing US $13 million to provide transport to school for kids from various villages! This is great news for 4-year old Siraj from Alsira, who will no longer have to make do with her makeshift blackboard!

We now need to ensure that the government makes good on its promise by continuing our litigation work. Following our first hearing on 13 September, the judge ordered the state to present its final transportation plan for the Bedouin kids. Our next hearing is set for 22 February 2017.

2. Ending discrimination in benefits to 'returning' Arab high school students

Students with Israeli citizenship who have studied for four or more years overseas (known as ‘returning students’) and who face linguistic challenges upon their return to Israel are entitled to significant benefits and considerations when taking their Israeli high school matriculation exam. However, these benefits only applied to students taking the exam in Hebrew, which effectively excluded Arab students, who take the exam in Arabic.

As a result of Adalah’s appeal in May 2016, on 5 September the Education Ministry announced it would cancel the discriminatory directive!

Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher noted that it was unfortunate that an appeal had to be filed "in order to update the ministry directive after it had already harmed so many children”. Nevertheless, we are satisfied with the decision to update the directive and thereby facilitate equal rights in education for Arab students.

For more on the case and the benefits that are now extended to Arab students:

3. East Jerusalem education won’t be held ransom

According to media reports, the Israeli Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs is expected to transfer some NIS 20 million (US $5.28 million dollars) earmarked for the renovation of existing Arab school buildings. However, the ministry is reportedly making the budget transfer conditional on the Arab schools' adoption of an Israeli-authored curriculum instead of a Palestinian-authored curriculum. This decision is part of broader Israeli efforts to erase Palestinian history, culture and presence in Occupied East Jerusalem.

Adalah sent an urgent letter on 10 August 2016 demanding the revocation of the decision. We argued that the Jerusalem Affairs Ministry’s decision is a violation of Palestinians’ right to education, and that the ministry lacks the authority to determine curriculum content in these schools, which falls under the Education Ministry.

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Organization Information

Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel

Location: Haifa - Israel
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @AdalahEnglish
Project Leader:
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Haifa, Haifa Israel

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