In honor of International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on
March 21, the Education Ministry has decreed that schools across the country
hold discussions on the subject of racism with students of all ages, from
elementary to high school.
The Ministry decided to mark the day earlier
this year, due to the upcoming twoweek Passover vacation which will overlap with
the international event.
“We see great importance in the struggle against
racism, so we mark this day every year,” the executive director of the Education
Ministry, Dalit Stauber, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
year there have been a few events in which there was racism involved, where
innocent people, citizens, got hurt, not necessarily in the education system,
but in general, in society,” she said.
“We want to explain to the
students why there is no place for these things,” she added.
nationwide were instructed, on Sunday, to bring the subject of the fight against
racial discrimination into their classrooms, and to talk to their students about
racist events that have made news headlines over the past year.
latest such case concerns two female teachers, an Arab and a Jew, attacked by
haredi youth last week on their way to a condolence call in
Stauber, who publicly condemned the event and personally spoke
to the teachers concerned, explained that the ministry found the attack
important enough to “stop the daily agenda and say something about
“The education system took responsibility here,” she
“We want to address this [racism] in the system and educate the
kind of society that we want to live in, a society with less violence, more
patience,” Stauber said.
To facilitate this operation, the Ministry
published relevant teaching material and studies – adapted to various grades and
age groups – on its website for schools to use.
“It goes without saying
that we, as a people, suffered from racism and were victims of cruel
stereotypes,” Stauber told the Post, “I think that even without this [history],
an improved society should protect itself from such occurrences and educate
toward tolerance, and that’s what we are doing.”
“We hope that kids will
understand that you need to respect a human being for being a human being;
develop tolerance for the other; and be able to foster and respect the
heterogeneity of our society, which is a society with varied cultures, varied
religions, varied opinions,” she said.
As schools nationwide addressed
the topic, Army Radio reported on Sunday that last week, students from a school
in the Arab town of Sakhnin allegedly threw stones at those from a visiting
religious Jewish school in Yokne’am. No one was injured in the
According to Army Radio, the Yokne’am school headmistress
failed to report the incident to the police and the district’s Education
The Sakhnin school’s headmaster sent a letter of apology
following the incident to the headmistress of the Yokne’am
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is
observed annually on 21 March, which marks the day when police opened fire and
killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid “pass laws,” in
Sharpeville, South Africa, in 1960.
The United Nations General Assembly
proclaimed the day in 1966, and called on the international community to
redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial
Israel signed the International Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination the same year.