JERUSALEM (JTA) — Three private religious schools in Petach Tikvah will admit Ethiopian students.
The agreement, reached just hours before the start of the school year, was announced Monday night by the Education Ministry.
Some 30 Ethiopian students were to be accepted by the three schools on Tuesday, the first day of school, with another 18 to enter during the course of the school year.
Another 60 Ethiopian students who will move to the city in the coming months will enroll in "unofficially recognized" schools run by fervently Orthodox organizations. They will not be assigned to the state religious schools.
On Sunday, the Education Ministry had announced that it would cut off funding to the private religious schools — up to 75 percent of their annual budgets — if they refused to accept the students. The schools had claimed that the Ethiopian students require more time and funds than other children to raise them to academic standards.
The schools had agreed to accept children into regular first-grade classes but said the older students must attend special classes, which Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar called "a kind of small ghetto for pupils of a certain origin."