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Hot War on Israel’s Borders No Deterrent to Israeli-arab Student Amity in Israel

The hot war raging along Israel’s borders appears to have no effect on the normally amicable relations between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel. This is especially evident on Israeli college campuses and in vocational and other high schools where Jewish and Arab youth study together and fraternize as if there were no Middle East conflict. The situation was described in reports by the Women’s American ORT and from the University of Haifa. At the latter, 240 of the 3800 students are Arabs. Although the number is small, the University has developed a program for Arab students, offering courses that will enable them to return to their home towns as teachers and community leaders, according to Eliezer Rafaeli, director general of the University.

The Women’s American ORT reported that many minority group students–Arabs, Druze and Circassian–attend its vocational high schools and apprenticeship centers with predominantly Jewish student bodies. Others attend ORT high schools which serve minority groups exclusively, located in Nazareth, Abu Gosh and Isifya. “Of greatest interest perhaps are the ORT schools in which Israeli Arabs form a minority,” the report said. “From time to time, an Arab pupil may experience initial adjustment problems, but these are not always because he is studying in a predominantly Jewish school. If they are, however, school directors and teachers take prompt corrective action–which usually begins with a quiet reminder to the Jewish students that, being in the majority, they have an obligation to make the Arab boy or girl feel accepted and at ease,” the report said. According to the directors of some ORT vocational schools, “the Arab boys frequently work harder and take better care of the equipment than some Jewish boys do. As for hostility in day-to-day relations, it simply does not exist here.”

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