A veteran teacher from southern Israel who resigned after parents complained that she was “too leftist” said Thursday that she was not angry, but “saddened that such a thing can happen,” and invited her detractors to visit her to talk, listen and learn more.
Tali Mizrachi, who has been teaching for 24 years, also vowed to continue educating for tolerance, Channel 2 news reported.
Shortly before the start of the new school year, parents found on Mizrachi’s Facebook page a photograph of the palm of a hand on which was written the word “Stop [Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory]!” in Hebrew, Arabic and English, portraits drawn by pupils and displayed on the classroom wall with the title “We’re all part of one humanity” written in Hebrew and Arabic, a picture of a bunch of flowers wrapped in paper on which was written “seeds of peace,” and a photograph of her walking past a section of the security barrier with a Palestinian flag poking out of her backpack.
The parents also complained that she had posted support for Breaking the Silence, an organization that collects testimonies from former Israel Defense Forces soldiers about alleged human rights violations they witness in the Palestinian territories during their military service.
They contacted the head of the local council and threatened not to send their children to school. The council head reported the complaints to Mizrachi, who decided to resign.
“Parents texted me, talked about me having posters about refugees in the classroom, and that I took part in demonstrations for peace,” Mizrachi said. “They judge a person by three pictures on Facebook, they don’t look into it properly, and they decide on a person’s fate?
“I still invite them to visit me and to talk and listen. I’m not angry, just extremely sad that such a thing can happen.”
Mizrachi’s lawyer Eli Unger said his client had been subject to a “witch hunt” for nearly two weeks.
“They took a woman who’s a real princess and turned her into an anti-Zionist witch who hates Israel,” he said.
Mizrachi, who said she would continue to educate for tolerance, has received many messages of support from other parents and past pupils.