A group of Israeli parents in the southern area of Tel Aviv are seeking to prevent two Arab girls from attending their children’s elementary school on grounds their presence would lower the loft academic standards of the school. Both girls live in the neighborhood, are citizens of Israel,but happen to be of an Arab background. The area has witnessed an influx of immigrants and working class people who apparently use their hands in physical work. The mothers claim they are not racists, simply parents protecting their children against, “them.” As one parent noted, “the School Board has already dumped the African kids here and now they’re bringing in the Arab kids without even telling us. They can’t speak Hebrew well, they’re having trouble in class and it’s hurting the academic level of the school.”
The argument is an old one. First, allow a few of “them” into the school and then “they” will flood in and destroy the level of education. As the child of poor uneducated Jewish immigrants to America who arrived not speaking the language and learned in night school as my brother and I learned during the day, I find these women have no knowledge of what bigots have been saying for years about Jewish children. It is the ongoing argument of racist minded people about “those people” who lack their standards.
There is nothing more despicable than a Jewish bigot who employs the arguments of anti-semites against another group of people. Did these parents once consider having Arab girls in school would foster friendships with Jewish children and help build feelings of solidarity?