Arabs to hold general strike October 1

Supreme Arab Monitoring Committee: Reason behind decision is "continued State discrimination."

Barakei 248 88 (photo credit: Knesset )
Barakei 248 88
(photo credit: Knesset )
The Supreme Arab Monitoring Committee declared on Wednesday that the Israeli Arab sector will hold a one-day general strike on October 1, marking the anniversary of the October 2000 riots in which 13 Israeli Arabs were killed. The committee explained that the reason behind the decision was the "continued state discrimination against its Arab citizens." In recent years, the Israeli Arab sector did not strike on October 1. Hadash Chairman MK Muhammad Barakei claimed that lately, discriminatory phenomena have been on the rise. According to Barakei, this is evident in actions and statements made by senior ministers. In a response to angry statements made on Monday by Arab educators threatening civil disobedience if Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar carries through with recently-announced plans to drop the word "Nakba" (catastrophe) from Arab textbooks and to introduce classes on Jewish culture and history, Sa'ar sounded a conciliatory tone while visiting schools in the North on Tuesday. "I have no intention of 'Judaizing' anyone and no one has heard me say that I would impose the national anthem on the Arab schools," Sa'ar told students at a high school in Shfaram, which he visited together with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. "But I do intend on starting a new program, in grades four through nine, called 'Israeli Heritage and Culture,' in which students will study [about] the Hebrew calendar, the country's flag, and the national anthem." Sa'ar also promised to "invest effort, thought, and funds to promote education among Muslims, Druse, Circassians, and Beduin," whom he said comprise 40 percent of classes in the country's schools. But Barakei said that the state had not done enough for the Arab sector in the education sphere, and that calls like Sa'ar's for introducing the new classes or dropping the word "Nakba" from Arab textbooks, was nothing more than a move for political gain. "There are 9,000 classrooms missing [in Arab schools], and at the Education Ministry's rate of construction, it will take another 51 years to close this gap," Barakei said. "The racist atmosphere has become a favorite arena for frustrated politicians," he added. "Anyone seeking fame can find it in the trend of racism against Arabs. The ministers of infrastructure, education, transportation, whoever."