Ra'anana Democratic School Still Looking for a New Home

Parents and students from the Merhav Democratic School in Ra'anana plan to protest at city hall today against its opposition to helping find an alternative location for the school.

The school's Web site describes it as a democratic institution respecting the viewpoint of every individual, and "seeking to create a pluralistic community which views the human being as invested with fundamental, inviolable rights irrespective of age, sex, class or personal ability." For several years, the school has taught its 130 students in what it considers a temporary building.

Idit Shani Adom of the parents' committee said, "We petitioned the mayor to find a solution to the accommodation problem, even a temporary one."

"Unfortunately, we received a negative answer," she said, noting that the committee suggested a number of public facilities as possible solutions. "We aren't asking for any financial assistance, only to permit us to rent a building."

City hall officials said in response: "The Democratic School is a private educational institution that is not recognized by the Education Ministry. Half of its students are not Ra'anana residents."

"The municipality does not provide public buildings to private educational institutions, important as they may be," they said.

"We invite the school's students to join the municipal school system," said the municipality.

Meanwhile, the parents' committee in the northern Druze village of Yarka has announced a school strike to protest what it calls the lack of adequate teaching materials and infrastructure in its schools.

The committee called for residents to protest today outside the regional council building, and tomorrow opposite the Education Ministry in Jerusalem.

"We won't stop the strike until an interministerial committee is set up to examine all of the shortcomings of the schools in Yarka and draft a report on all possible solutions," said the parents' committee chairman, Erez Habish.