The Education Ministry’s request for indictments against Kiryat Tivon parents who want their children educated under a structure that hasn’t been approved is a worrying one. It suggests that the ministry is being tough because these parents dare to have their children educated in a joint framework for Jews and Arabs.
The ministry didn’t show such a combative spirit in similar cases in the past; special school structures have started operating long before they received official approval. The difference: It appears the programs of the past didn’t upset the educational, social and political order held sacrosanct by the Education Ministry.
For more than two years the nonprofit group Ein Bustan has tried to establish a school in line with Education Ministry demands that would continue the program of a bilingual preschool and kindergarten in the Lower Galilee. It has already been operating seven years. Despite the surrounding depressing reality, or perhaps because of it, dozens of parents have discovered the beauty and potential that multicultural education provides.
Yet the ministry has blocked all attempts for the new initiative to receive official approval. Foot-dragging that appears based on an ideological fixation, adherence to bureaucratic procedures and opposition to joint education for Jews and Arabs has led to the indictment request. The parents have been accused of violating the Core Curriculum Law, which requires them to send their children to a recognized educational institution.
On Wednesday the parent’s case will be heard at a court in Kiryat Bialik. Many schools established by parents begin operating without a license or recognition from the Education Ministry. For most, licensing and recognition come at a later stage. A request for an indictment against such schools is usually a last resort after all other paths have been considered and rejected.
In Ein Bustan’s case, it appears this was the first resort. The decision to take to court Jewish and Arab parents who want their children educated together is another example of the Education Ministry’s four-year war against any attempt to present Israel’s complex face. Hopefully the indictment process will stop.
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