Divided Muslims, Druze keep Galilee school closed

Divided Muslims, Druze keep Galilee school closed

Abu Snan middle and high school pupils yet to resume studies after violent brawl in November

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Screenshot from a Ynet video of the violent brawl in Abu Snan on November 14, 1014 between members of the Galilee village's Muslim and Druze community members.
Screenshot from a Ynet video of the violent brawl in Abu Snan on November 14, 1014 between members of the Galilee village's Muslim and Druze community members.

A month after a violent brawl between Muslims and Druze in the northern village of Abu Snan, hundreds of local schoolchildren have yet to return to their studies due to simmering tensions, Israel Radio reported on Thursday.

Some 600 pupils have been affected by the standoff, which has seen extremists from the Islamic Movement pressure parents to keep their children at home rather than send them to the local middle and high schools, which are also attended by Druze pupils.

The November clash between Druze and Muslim mobs in the Galilee village left dozens injured, some from a hand grenade. One person was left in critical condition, five were seriously wounded, and the rest lightly to moderately injured.

At the time, Abu Snan Mayor Nuhad Mishlav said the fighting had broken out following a stabbing attack involving two high school students, one Muslim and one Druze.

The village council had initially planned to separate between Muslim and Druze pupils, but the Education Ministry deemed the move illegal. As an alternative, the council suggested sending 10th-12th graders to study at a separate site in a special education school in the village, but the ministry struck down that plan for the same reason, also noting that the alternative location couldn’t support additional students.

Mishlav justified the temporary separation as being the only way to get children back their studies.

“In the current location, in our experience, it doesn’t seem possible to continue teaching and learning together,” he said.

When the council declared that it intended to go ahead with using the alternative site anyway, the Education Ministry sought to block the move.

On Wednesday the Haifa Court of Administrative Affairs granted an injunction against the plan and ordered the parties to come up with another solution by the end of the month.

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