Jerusalem parents call to bar East Jerusalem school bus drivers
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Jerusalem parents call to bar East Jerusalem school bus drivers

Municipality rejects requests from dozens of Jewish families, says it doesn’t discriminate on basis of race

Illustrative: Israeli kids wearing school bags for first day of school outside their home in Jerusalem (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Illustrative: Israeli kids wearing school bags for first day of school outside their home in Jerusalem (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Dozens of parents of Jewish school children in Jerusalem recently asked the municipality to prevent East Jerusalem drivers from transporting their children to school.

East Jerusalem residents are Palestinians but also card-carrying Israeli residents. Most are eligible for citizenship if they apply.

The Jerusalem Municipality’s Education Department rejected the over 30 written requests it received to cancel contracts awarded to East Jerusalem transportation companies, saying it was not legally possible and that the city doesn’t support discrimination based on race, the Haaretz daily reported.

A number of parents then threatened to turn to Education Minister Naftali Bennett over the matter.

In response, Jerusalem’s Education Department head Aviv Keinan and Arik Kaplan, chairman of the Jerusalem Parents Association, issued a joint letter lambasting the parents’ request.

“We write to you in this letter as partners in the building of Jerusalem while creating an egalitarian, fair and significant education system,” Haaretz quoted them as writing.

“We can no longer ignore the recurring phenomenon of parents’ inquiries about the ethnicity of the bus drivers, which is a complete contradiction to the same education system we are striving to lead,” they said.

Keinan and Kaplan stressed that the Palestinian drivers meet all legal criteria necessary to transport children to school. They also strongly condemned the parents’ letters and said they don’t reflect the values of the vast majority of Jerusalem residents.

“This is not the way of Jerusalem, the Jerusalem Municipality or the Jerusalem Parents Association. We ask you to show awareness to such statements and denounce them,” they wrote.

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