"As long as I am mayor, an Arab school will not be built in Nazareth Illit."

 

"As long as I am mayor, an Arab school will not be built in Nazareth Illit."

 

That's what the mayor of a mixed Jewish-Arab town in Israel told the Knesset Education Committee last month. The Knesset hearing was called to inquire why Nazareth Illit, a town in the Galilee with a 20% Arab population, doesn't have a single school where the 1,900 Arab children who live in the town can study in their native language.

The good news is that the final decision about whether to build a school is not up to the mayor. It's up to the Education Minister, who is considering opening a school over the mayor's objections.

Write Education Minister Shai Piron using the form below.

The stakes are bigger than a single school. This is about whether discrimination can be justified in contemporary Israel.

The mayor of this town is part of an extremist movement that is trying to re-invent Israel's founding principles in a way that erases any notion of democracy and equality. Last week he argued that Israel was created in order to discriminate against Arabs.

It's no surprise that these extremists don't talk about Israel's democratic heritage. Their selective telling of history cannot co-exist with the fact that Israel's Declaration of Independence promises "complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex."

NIF exists to help Israeli society live up to the principles of equality and inclusion. We want to see Israel thrive as both a Jewish homeland and a democracy. And we need your help to do it.

Resdidents of Nazareth Illit have already been organizing. Their grassroots efforts brought the issue to the attention of the Knesset Education Committee.

Your letter to Education Minister Shai Piron is the next step.