Arab educator flooded with offers after report on racism she faced in job hunt
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Arab educator flooded with offers after report on racism she faced in job hunt

Ranin Lala says she is moved by outpouring of support after TV broadcast showed she was offered more opportunities when applying for daycare jobs under assumed Jewish-sounding name

Ranin Lala in a report broadcast on July 14, 2020 (Screen grab/Channel 13)
Ranin Lala in a report broadcast on July 14, 2020 (Screen grab/Channel 13)

A woman who featured in a Monday news report on the racism faced by some Arab women trying to gain work as teachers and daycare workers has been inundated with work offers.

Ranin Lala, 29, from Jaffa had applied for multiple jobs in kindergartens in the center of the country, but was rejected or told to send a resume with a photo attached.

“They always want a photo when they hear I have an Arab name,” Lala said.

However, after the broadcast of Lala’s story, work offers came in from around the country and from the Education Ministry, Channel 13 news reported.

Ruti Davidovich from the Gan Ruti kindergarten in Petah Tikva, July 14, 2020 (Screen grab/Channel 13)

“Ranin, you have moved me,” said Ruti Davidovich from the Gan Ruti kindergarten in Petah Tikva. “I would be happy for you to contact me and come to work.”

Itai Bershadsky of the Pashut Gan in the central town of Ramat Hasharon sent Lala a video in which he decried what had happened to her and asked her to come meet with him.

“It is sad to see that in 2020 people are still measured by their religion and not by their skills. I saw with sadness the article that was broadcast about you. I would love to meet you,” Bershadsky said.

“To suddenly see people who don’t know me, who just saw the report and they want to help me and they are also ashamed of what happened — I am very moved,” Lala said. “I feel there is justice, and that I did not study in vain — that I did something good and I am going to do more.”

Lala studied for three years at Levinsky College in Tel Aviv, one of the top institutions in the country for future educators, but found that her resume was no match for what appeared to systemic discrimination. The situation reached a point where her mother suggested she officially change her name to help her find work, she said.

Lala said that as soon as she started to make phone calls and go for interviews, she realized that something wasn’t right and that she was being told there weren’t jobs available when the opposite was true.

Ranin Lala in a report broadcast on July 13, 2020 (Screen grab/Channel 13)

When jobs were available, they were only in kindergartens for Arab, asylum seeker or new immigrant children.

“I want to come and teach everything I learned — the festivals, Holocaust Remembrance Day, Memorial Day. As an Arab Israeli who lives in Israel, I live these things. I love this country, I love it all,” Lala said. “I want to be in a Jewish kindergarten because I believe I have something to give there.”

The report suggested that many daycare managers are scared of backlash from parents, and therefore unwilling to hire Arab staff. It is illegal in Israel to discriminate on the basis of religion.

Once Lala began to apply for jobs under the name “Rona Tal,” a typical Jewish Israeli name, she says, she was treated very differently. Instead of hearing from potential employers that there were no openings, she was told on a number of occasions there was a possibility there would be a position for her.

Arab Israelis, who make up about 20 percent of the population, have long complained of ingrained racism in Israeli society, making it difficult for them to integrate or find jobs. A 2017 survey by University of Haifa researcher Prof. Sammy Smooha found 48 percent of Jewish Israelis unwilling to have an Arab neighbor, 39.8% of Jewish Israelis unwilling to have an Arab boss, and only 51.6% of Jewish Israelis willing to have Arab students study at the same schools as their children.

A survey by Channel 13 on Monday found similar attitudes, showing that 38% of respondents would oppose the hiring of an Arab daycare teacher and would work to block such a move, with an additional 16% saying it would make them uncomfortable but they would still send their child to the daycare.

The survey, which was carried out by the Rushinek Institute, found 37% said it would not bother them and 9% said they didn’t know. The channel did not share the sample size or any information about the methodology.

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