Around 6,000 Arab public school children in Lod stayed home from school on
Sunday, after the local parents’ committee called a strike in the city’s Arab
school system to protest recent house demolitions in the city, and what they say
is institutionalized neglect of the Arab school system on the part of the city
and the Education Ministry.
Ihab Issa, head of the Monitoring Committee
for Education Problems in Lod, said Sunday that the strike was called “first off
as a protest against the demolitions of the Abu Eid family’s houses and the fact
that the authorities haven’t presented them with an alternative.”RELATED:Lod protesters call for housing dispute to be resolvedFamily, activists camp out in Lod protest tent
also described what he said was a litany of funding hang-ups in programs for
Lod’s Arab schools, and neglect on the part of the authorities when it comes to
Lod’s Arab school pupils.
Last Wednesday, Israel Lands Authority
officials escorted by police took apart concrete slabs set up by the Abu Eid
family for the purpose of setting up caravans. During clashes with police, three
family members were lightly wounded and a few were arrested, including minors,
according to witnesses.
In December, seven homes that housed around 70
members of the Abu Eid family were leveled by the ILA during a torrential
downpour, following years of court battles.
On Wednesday evening,
protesters set up a tent community at city hall and stayed overnight until late
Thursday night, when they were cleared out by police and returned to the tents
at the site of the original demolitions in December.
City Hall Chief Meir
Nitzan issued a statement Sunday saying, “I’m sorry that extremist groups are
inflaming the situation and involving students in issues of law and interfering
with their studies. Anyone who thinks that protest actions of this sort will
cause us to back down from our positions is mistaken.”
Nitzan said he is
not willing to accept and vowed to demolish any new illegal construction. Under
the Lod municipality’s policy, the city only destroys structures in which no one
In regards to the issue of neglect of the Arab school
system, the Lod municipality said, “The policies being led by Mr. Meir Nitzan
are equal and do not include any discrimination whatsoever.”
statement also touted projects being put into effect by the city to invest NIS
45 million in building new educational institutions for the Arab public in
Meanwhile, the Education Ministry issued a response to the strike on
Sunday, saying they oppose “the strike in the Lod school system, which harms the
study routine of the students.”
The statement added that the number of
students per classroom in Lod is consistent with the ministry limit of 40
students per room, and that the Lod school system is part of the ministry’s
program to limit the maximum number of students per classroom to 32.