Officials shut East Jerusalem school accused of being Hamas front
Ministry says Sur Baher elementary school run by terror group, teaches the desire to undermine Israel
Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.
Israeli authorities ordered an East Jerusalem school shuttered Thursday, saying it was being run by the Hamas terror group.
The order followed a months-long joint probe by the Education Ministry, Jerusalem Police and the Shin Bet security service into the Al-Nukhaba elementary school in the Sur Baher neighborhood, according to an Education Ministry statement.
Authorities said the school was established by Hamas with the aim of teaching “content that undermines the sovereignty of Israel.”
Its aims were consistent with the ideology of the terror organization, which calls for the destruction of Israel, according to the Education Ministry.
“Each case of incitement will be dealt with and will continue to be dealt with, with maximum severity,” Education Minister Naftali Bennett said. “Schools in East Jerusalem that elect to follow the [Israeli] curriculum get the full set of tools to succeed, while those choosing incitement will be closed.”
Jews and Palestinians study in separate school systems in Jerusalem. The Palestinian schools are run by either the city council or private bodies.
The Education Ministry ordered the school not to open in September and when it continued to operate, issued the closure order.
The school’s administration had sued to have the decision overturned, but the case was rejected by the Jerusalem District Court and upheld by the Supreme Court, citing the school’s failure to obtain a license as one of the reasons for siding with the ministry.
East Jerusalem Palestinians regularly say the city discriminates against them in disbursing funds and municipal services.
According to daily newspaper Haaretz, East Jerusalem Palestinian schools received less than half the funds that the Jerusalem Municipality transferred to West Jerusalem Jewish schools in 2016.
The municipality said that the paper’s figures were wrong.