January 19, 2011

Student's answer on civics test: Death to Arabs

Ynet - Three weeks after the publication of a petition calling on Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar to take action against racism spreading within schools and the general public, teachers told Ynet about the harsh reality they are forced to face daily.

In one case, a 12th grade student of a northern Israeli school wrote "Death to the Arabs" on a test in civics class. In another case, a high school student from Tel Aviv stood up during class, and to the horror of his teacher declared that his dream is to volunteer for the Border Guard, "so that I can spray Arabs to death." His friends welcomed the announcement with applause.

Moreover, civics teachers around the country have been finding graffiti on the walls of their classrooms, bearing slogans ranging from "Kahane was right" to "A good Arab is a dead Arab." Other statements incite against the ultra-Orthodox sector and against refugees.

'Political discourse to blame for incitement'

According to an Education Ministry source, the recent incidents reflect an escalation in racism among Israeli students. He primarily blamed politicians for encouraging hatred.

"We're not talking about a minority, or children from families that have extreme political views, but about normal children who are afflicted with ignorance," he said. "The political discourse in recent years has given them the legitimacy to be prejudiced."

The source also noted that the student who wrote "Death to Arabs" on his test is an honors student who is proficient in the material – a fact that raises a red flag.

He said the school in question dealt with the student in an uncompromising manner and the student did express deep regret for his actions. Regardless, the source asserted that it was not just an isolated practical joke but a trend widespread among Israel's youth.

A civics teacher from central Israel said she is constantly faced with racism emanating from the behavior of her pupils.

"When we have a discussion in class about equal rights, the class immediately gets out of control," she said. "The students attack us, the teachers, for being leftist and anti-Semitic, and say that all the Arab citizens who want to destroy Israel should be transferred."

She noted that expressions of hatred increase especially when she discusses the Kfar Kassem massacre, namely the significance of the "Clearly Illegal Order," a military command that is expressly against the law and should not be obeyed.

"It's very sad, but the students justify the massacre and say, 'A good Arab is a dead Arab,'" she said. "Often students who want to speak on behalf of human rights are either scared to do it because of the reactions of their friends, or apologetically clarify they don't like Arabs."

WATCH: Settlers celebrate defiance of construction limit

January 4, 2011

1,100 children detained by Israel in 2010

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces detained 1,100 Palestinian children in 2010, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Detainees' Affairs said Wednesday.

The arrests were concentrated in East Jerusalem, where 500 children were detained, and in Hebron, the ministry found.

PA Detainees' Affairs Minister Issa Qaraqe said the high number reflected the Israeli policy to systematically pursue children, particularly in occupied East Jerusalem, where children were often put under house arrest.

In its report, the ministry said prisoners were routinely kept in solitary confinement in cells which resembled graves. Some prisoners, including Hasan Salameh and Ahmad Al-Mughrabi, have spent more than eight years in such inhumane conditions.

The Israeli intelligence service Shin Bet ordered 12 Palestinian prisoners to serve long sentences in solitary confinement, the report said.

Petitions to Israeli courts have failed as the policy is politically motivated, the ministry said, adding that it has requested that European politicians intervene.


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