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      Child Rights Head: ‘Yesha Children Suffer from Building Freeze’

      The government’s freeze on new building in Judea and Samaria violates the rights of children, according to the director of the Child Services.
      By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
      First Publish: 11/10/2009, 7:29 PM / Last Update: 11/10/2009, 7:37 PM

      Israel news photo

      The government’s freeze on new building in Judea and Samaria violates the rights of children, according to the Director of the Child Services, Dr. Yitzchak Kadmon. Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who has the last word on construction in Judea and Samaria, has authorized the continuation of current projects but has blocked new ones, including classrooms in existing schools.

      The lack of new classrooms, despite the rapid growth rate in Judea and Samaria, has left existing classrooms overcrowded, forcing some children to learn in temporary structures that lack facilities conducive to learning.

      “I am not an expert in defense and political polices, but it is clear that every student in Israel has the right to enjoy suitable conditions for education,” according to Dr. Kadmon. He called on Defense Minister Barak to act promptly to rectify the situation. “How will you act to ensure building more classrooms where they are needed and according to existing standards,” he said.

      Several buildings, including those that will be used for kindergartens, have won initial approval and budgeting, but construction cannot proceed without the signature of the Defense Minister.

      Dr. Kadmon’s appeal comes one week after National Union Knesset Member Uri Ariel called for an urgent discussion by the Knesset Education Committee on the matter. Ariel said that "Defense Minister Barak is abusing helpless children who are forced to learn in disgraceful conditions.”

      The committee agreed to ask the Defense Minister to allow a start in construction for the classrooms, but he has not yet responded.