The Mevasseret Zion Municipal Council’s Immigrant Absorption Committee voted against condemning an incident last week in which 17 high school students dressed up as members of the Ku Klux Klan white supremacist organization on Purim.
The students from Harel High School in the Jerusalem suburb posted to social media pictures of themselves wearing white sheets and hoods. Three of the students painted their face in black to portray their African- American victims.
Parents of the students lobbied the committee against condemning their children, whose photographs wearing KKK uniforms have been published by anti-Israel and anti-Semitic websites around the world.
Absorption Committee member Jeremy Saltan, who was the only member who voted for the condemnation, said he was frustrated and disappointed by the decision.
Saltan noted that 17 teens dressing up together required a lot of research, preparation, and coordination, including detailed costumes and props.
The teens who colored their faces black were handcuffed from the back and were paraded past the Mevasseret Absorption Center, which is the largest absorption center in Israel and is home to more than a thousand Ethiopian immigrants.
“There is no place for racism in Mevasseret Zion,” he said. “I don’t understand how the parents allowed their kids to walk out of the house like that and how the principal and teachers didn’t send them home that day or address the issue. At the very least, we need to have some educational lesson here so that this never happens again.”