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NGO: Gov't fails to secure Israeli-Arab schools
By YONAH JEREMY BOB
06/17/2012
According to ULAI, gov't has failed on promises of October 2011 to increase funding to secure Israeli-Arab educational institutions.
 
The Union of Local Authorities in Israel called on Sunday for the government to safeguard educational institutions in the Israeli-Arab sector per prior promises.

According to ULAI, the government has failed to follow through on promises made in October 2011 to increase funding for a number of projects in the Israeli-Arab sector, including securing their schools.

ULAI added that it and the local educational institutions under its umbrella have taken all the necessary planning actions for a new security detail to operate within the schools.

Yet, more than six months after the promises were made, the government has not provided the funding for hiring the new security.

ULAI chairman Shlomo Bohbot noted that in light of the constant violence in the cities and towns where many Israeli Arabs live, the challenge of preserving children’s safety at their local schools only continues to grow.

Bohbot said this is especially true since the Israeli-Arab sector is underfunded across the board.

He pointed out that the state is investing significant resources in shielding its international borders from outside threats and illegal migrants.

While Bohbot recognized these projects as important, he highlighted that it is just as critical to protect the state’s children from “day-to-day” threats.

He concluded by calling on the government to merely follow its own decisions by transferring the funds it had designated for the Israeli-Arab educational institutions.

The main role of ULAI, an umbrella organization established in 1938 for 265 local institutions and groups, is to look after the shared interests of all the local authorities and to represent them in their affairs with the government and its ministries, the Knesset, and other public institutions.

Furthermore, ULAI advises the local authorities regarding the entire range of municipal matters including education, welfare, economy, water, security, status of women, labor relations, law and the courts.

All of this takes place against the backdrop of a recent survey of the annual Jewish-Arab Relations Index – which has been carried out for the past 30 years by Prof. Sammy Smooha from the University of Haifa’s Jewish- Arab Center – which found that along with a deteriorating view of the Jewish state’s policies towards its Arab minority, some 42 percent of Israeli Arabs have not accepted life in Israel.

Ruth Eglash contributed to this story.
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