Arab Schools in Jerusalem to Be Opened in Stages Despite Organized Opposition

All public schools for Arab children in East Jerusalem which, includes the Old City, will open in stages during next month — beginning with next week — despite a certain amount of organized Arab opposition to the reopening of the institutions, officials of Israel’s Ministry of Education declared today. Schools maintained by Christian missions in East Jerusalem will reopen on schedule.

Difficulties are expected at the schools in the Israeli-held west bank of the Jordan River, as well as in the Gaza area. But even there classes are expected to be reopened during the first half of September although many teachers have no intention of returning to their posts. Some Arab teachers in the west bank area are still receiving their salaries, smuggled in from Jordan, as an inducement toward boycotting the schools run by the Israelis which have been cleansed of anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli propaganda previously included by the Arab regime.

Some textbooks included excerpts from the infamous canard, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Others claimed that Lavrenti Beria, the former pro-Stalin chief of the Soviet Union’s secret police who was executed after Stalin’s death, had been killed by the USSR because he had headed a “Zionist spy ring.” In examining the textbooks, 78 on the west bank had been found filled with such propaganda, while 56 were found acceptable. In the Gaza Strip, only 39 textbooks were found usable, while 90 were objectionable. In the Golan Heights area of occupied Syria, the percentage of banned books is even higher than the ratio in the Gaza Strip.

Israel has no intention of assigning to the Arab public schools any Israeli Arabs or Jews who had come from Moslem countries, because Israel needs all the teachers it has in its own schools, it was stated today by the Ministry of Education. Yaacov Sarid, director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Education, said today that the budget for the preparation and operation of the Arab schools for the next academic year amounts to 10,000,000 Israeli pounds ($3,333,333). He said the cost of reprinting the Arab school textbooks will be 3,500,000 Israeli pounds (over $1,130,000).

Meanwhile, Israel’s Ministry of Education and Civil Service Commission have set up a special crash course in Arabic. Some 600 civil servants, most of them senior officials, will take that course. Courses in Arabic are also being expanded in some schools, and some of them, in Tel Aviv, are making the study of Arabic a compulsory course.

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