The Mevaseret Zion Municipal Council’s Immigrant Absorption Committee is expected to condemn on Monday an incident last week in which 17 high school students dressed up as members of the Ku Klux Klan white supremacist organization on Purim.
Students from Harel High School posted pictures to social media of themselves wearing white sheets and hoods. Three of the students painted their faces black.
Labor MK Nachman Shai, a Mevaseret resident, said he saw the students and was very disturbed by them. He called the incident “a first-degree educational blunder.”
Mevaseret Deputy Mayor Hanan Rafie, who holds the municipality’s education portfolio and is chairman of the high school’s board, said those responsible would be reprimanded.
“Every action that has even a slight smell of racism, even as a joke, does not belong in our school,” Rafie said. “My world view is that we must learn from every crisis and come out stronger. It is important that we teach the student body that they must show sensitivity and make better judgment calls.”
Edna Nahum, chairwoman at the municipality’s education committee, said the parents should be held responsible for allowing their children to leave the house in those costumes.
She said the school and teachers were also responsible, because they allowed the students to walk around the school dressed that way.
“If the kids showed up dressed as SS soldiers, would we all remain indifferent?” she asked. “There is a limit to poor taste on Purim.”
The KKK originated in the American South in the 1860s. It waged a campaign of terrorism against blacks and non-Protestant whites in an attempt to combat desegregation during the civil rights era.
Immigration and Absorption committee member Jeremy Saltan, who is raising the issue with the committee, said that there is a large Ethiopian immigrant population in Mevaseret. He said Mayor Yoram Shimon had promised support on the issue.
“There is no place for this kind of behavior in Mevaseret Zion, Israel or anywhere on this planet,” he said. “As an immigrant from Chicago, I am disgusted to find racism in my backyard.”