Ethiopian-Israelis protest outside 'ghetto' school

Knesset Education Ct'ee chair Alex Miller: "Ethiopian only" schools are disgusting phenomenon; protesters gather at Petah Tikva school.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
September 1, 2011 11:47
1 minute read.
Tzipi Livni with Ethiopian Israeli protesters

Livni loves Ethiopian children_311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Approximately 300 Israelis of Ethiopian descent, including students and their parents, demonstrated Thursday morning outside the Nir Etzion School in Petah Tikva.

They were upset that despite city provisions, the school, which they considered an "Ethiopian ghetto" because the student population was made up of nearly only Ethiopian children, was not closed and the children not integrated throughout other schools in the area.

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The parents planned to demonstrate outside Petah Tikva city hall later on Thursday.

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni made an appearance at the rally, telling protesters "Your struggle is not only the struggle of Ethiopians; it is the struggle for all of us in Israel."

"They tell you everything will be fine," Livni continued, "and that it will take time. For these kids...we cannot wait around."

Livni mentioned the value of Israel's melting pot, and said that the children of new immigrants and long-time citizens must learn in the same institutions.

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In response to the demonstration, chairman of the Knesset Education Committee Alex Miller (Israel Beiteinu) said that an emergency meeting would be convened to discuss the situation at the Nir Etzion school in Petah Tikva.

"'Ethiopian only' schools are a disgusting and condemnable phenomenon that stain the entire education system", he said, adding, "There is no place in the State of Israel for concentration camps for Ethiopians."

Miller, who, at the end of the previous Knesset, passed a law prohibiting discrimination against students for reasons of country of origin, called for "the immediate closing of racist schools in order to allow students to learn with friends of all colors."

He continued, "a series of problematic cases require us to organize an immediate and urgent check of the entire education system in Petah Tikva."

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