Acre Municipality Orders Guards Outside Jewish Schools, Leaves Arabs Exposed

Acre school security not equal, say Arab parents; Municipality responds that both Arab and Jewish schools are protected by 'roving security details.'

Yaron Kaminsky

The Acre municipality posted security guards at Jewish kindergartens this week but left Arab kindergartens unguarded, according to complaints by parents of Arab children in the mixed city.

“We need guards as well, we’re also afraid,” said a mother whose one son is in a kindergarten with 32 other children. “It gets worse by the day. We also want the kindergarten to be safe.”

The municipality announced last week that, “in view of the terror wave washing over the state,” it would post guards at kindergartens “until things quiet down.”

The security guards are supplementing guards who are already deployed at the city’s schools, the statement said.

Asked by Haaretz whether the security guards were posted at both Jewish and Arab kindergartens, a municipality spokesman said that “a security solution has been found for all the schools and kindergartens in the city, including the Arab community, in accordance with police instructions.”

But the parents of Arab children said nothing had changed and no guards had been posted at their kindergartens.

Attorney Madiha Ramal-Issa, a former Acre municpial councilor, congratulated Mayor Shimon Lancry at the beginning of the week for his decision to post guards at kindergartens and to provide accompaniment for children during extracurricular activities.

“However I’ve received complaints from several Arab parents who also fear for their children’s safety in schools and kindergartens and are demanding that guards be posted at their children’s kindergartens, too,” she wrote the mayor.

Attorney Nidal Othman, head of the Coalition Against Racism in Israel, wrote to the mayor that “when it comes to the safety of the Jewish and Arab students in a mixed town like Acre, the city cannot practice one policy for Jews and another for Arabs.”

The municipality replied that it had deployed “roving security details” at the Arab schools and kindergartens, as it had at schools in the Jewish sector. In addition, security personnel are present at Arab schools whenever the students enter and leave.

“The city responds immediately to every request for students to be accompanied,” the municipality said.