Israeli principal rebuked over YouTube clip of Arab toddler nearly drowning
Irit Aharonson said e-mailing video was a 'regrettable mistake' and 'doesn't match my moderate opinions.'
Teachers at a large Holon high school said yesterday they were appalled by what they described as the racist insinuations of a video clip they received by e-mail from the school principal that showed an Arab toddler being thrown into a swimming pool and nearly drowning.
"A principal is supposed to be an educator," said a teacher at Kiryat Sharet High School who received the e-mail a few days ago from principal Irit Aharonson. "It's inconceivable she should be spreading such racist, inciting material without any monitoring."
Aharonson said she sent the video "in a distracted state" and called the decision a "regrettable mistake," saying: "The context of the clip wasn't anti-Arab. This doesn't match my moderate opinions."
The Education Ministry said it considered the distribution of the clip "a grave error of judgment."
The ministry characterized Aharonson's decision to share the clip as a "grave error of judgment," saying, "We expect educators to promote tolerance, not send out harmful and disdainful materials."
"It's a disgrace that a principal should be forwarding such videos," a ministry official said. "We just learned recently how widespread anti-Arab racism is among young people. How can we complain about students when a principal is promoting the same?"
In a survey released two weeks ago, 50 percent of Jewish teenagers said they believed Arab citizens shouldn't have rights equal to those of Jewish ones, and 56 percent believed Arabs should be allowed in the Knesset.
The clip, called "How Arab Kids Learn to Swim," shows a man wearing a galabiya and speaking in Arabic pushing a boy of about 2 years old into a pool. Another adult grabs the terrified toddler's hand, takes him out of the pool and then throws him back in. The child kicks uselessly and nearly drowns, and is taken out of the pool about a minute later.
Teachers said Aharonson had previously sent out a video clip called "What the Media Doesn't Show about Islam," which contains graphic images of atrocities attributed to Muslims.
Aharonson said she did not recall sending out that clip.