Posted by: Lister | June 15, 2007

Academic Equality

There seems to be a two tier schoolding system in Israel.

The New Israel Fund was set up by Israelis/Americans/Europeans to further civil and human rights. NIF said, in Sept 2005:

About 25 percent of Israeli schoolchildren – 430,000 – are members of the country’s Arab minority. The country’s Arab schools face routine budgetary discrimination; at the same time, Jewish schools often refuse to enroll the children of Arab Israeli parents who want a better education for them.

[…] the Israeli government spends an average of $192 per year on each Arab student compared to $1,100 per Jewish student.

Israeli Schools Separate, Not Equal — HRW Dec 2001

“Government-run Arab schools are a world apart from government-run Jewish schools,” said Zama Coursen-Neff, counsel to the Children’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch. “In virtually every respect, Palestinian Arab children get an education inferior to that of Jewish children, and their relatively poor performance in school reflects this.”

Palestinian Arab children drop out of school at three times the rate of Jewish children and are less likely to pass the national matriculation exams for a high school diploma. Only a handful make it to university.

[…] “The government has admitted that it spends more per Jewish child, but it hasn’t changed its policies,” said Coursen-Neff. “The children who need the most-Palestinian Arab and, especially, Negev Bedouin-are getting the least.” Last fall the government promised extra money for Arab education. This year it is not delivering on that promise in the 2002 budget.

Not all schools in Israel are segregated. Some good news from 1997: The Opening of a mixed school in Galilee.

Established in 1997, it was the first mixed school in Israel to host fully integrated classrooms teaching in both Arabic and Hebrew.

[…] Arab citizens of Israel make up 20% of the population, but the schooling system has traditionally remained rigorously segregated, with separate languages and curricula for Jewish and Arab students.

[…] it’s impossible to tell the Arab from the Jewish students.

This is good, because equal access to universities requires equal access to good primary and secondary education.

Of course, the main criticisms of Israel made by those seeking a boycott are regarding the Occupation. Personally, I think that a selective boycott would be better than a total boycott. Why punish those that are trying to do good?



  1. Jews for Justice for Palestinians collected some articles regarding the earlier vote to boycott two Israeli universities, Haifa and Bar Ilan. Avishai Ehrlich quotes a stat I found interesting:

    Haifa University has close to 30% Palestinian-Israeli citizen students, the highest of all Israeli Universities and much more then Arab percentage in Israel’s population. Haifa has the highest percentage of Arab lecturers among Israeli universities.

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