Special Needs School Vandalized

A special-needs school in the Mevo'ot Hahermon Regional Council was vandalized, with valuable equipment stolen, the night before the school year began, local officials said yesterday.

The school, located at the Koach Junction near Mount Hermon, serves 46 students from all over northern Israel, of ages ranging from less than a year to 21. Some of the students are wheelchair-bound.

"It was a very hard blow for the students, a real trauma," regional council head Benny Ben-Muvchar said yesterday. "Comforting them was very difficult. The people who did this have no conscience."

Also looted were the council's emergency supplies, from which food was supposed to be given to the needy for next week's Rosh Hashanah holiday.

"The damage was great, but the students started the school year anyway," Ben-Muvchar said. "We'll try to minimize the impact on them as much as possible."

In Safed, schools were closed yesterday due to a strike organized by the parents' committee and supported by the municipality.

The strike was called to protest the Education Ministry's decision to cancel state subsidies for tuition fees for 3-year-olds and fund school transportation for only 600 students instead of 1,700. Parents and students also demonstrated at the entrance to the city.