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Israeli cities ban Arab workers from schools amid fears of attacks

Senin 19 Oct 2015 16:45 WIB

Red: Julkifli Marbun



Foto: AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JERUSALEM -- Israel's commercial capital, Tel Aviv, and at least three other cities have banned Arab workers from entering schools, citing security reasons amid the largest wave of Palestinian knife attacks in years.

In the city of Rehovot in central Israel, the municipality's security chief stated in a letter to the residents that entry to educational institutions will not be allowed to "minority members, " a common Israeli term for Arab citizens, who make up about a fifth of the country's population.

The letter further explained that the ban will be applied only during school hours, while children are at schools.

The municipalities of Tel Aviv and its neighbor suburbs of Hod Hasharon and Ness Tziona have made similar announcements on their websites and letters to their residents, but avoided mentioning "Arabs" directly.

Citing security reasons, the municipalities said the entry of cleaners and maintenance workers will be banned during school hours. Arab citizens make a large part of those workers in Israel.

"In light of the sensitive situation, the municipality has decided not to allow contractors/workers, both Jewish and Arab, to enter educational institutions for the purpose of routine work at the school," the Tel Aviv municipality said in a statement.

Contract workers may perform their work as usual, after the end of the school day," it added.

Israel Radio reported that similar steps were taken by some schools in Jerusalem too, where most of the stabbing attacks have occurred.

The controversial steps were condemned by the Joint List, Israel's largest Arab-Jewish faction. Dov Khanin, a lawmaker with the List, slammed the decision as "promoting dangerous moves of racial segregation," and called for an emergency session by the parliament's Interior Committee.

Issawi Frij, an Arab lawmaker with the left-wing faction of Meretz, said that the education system, instead of acting to calm the situation, is spearheading "racism and exclusion."

Spiking Palestinian unrest throughout Israel, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip has claimed the lives of seven Israelis. About 90 additional Israelis were injured during Palestinian knife and stone attacks. In the same time, at least 43 Palestinians were killed, and hundreds more were injured.

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