Daily Israel Report

Upper Nazareth Mayor Vows: No Arab School Here

In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Upper Nazareth Mayor Shimon Gapsu reiterated that he would not allow an Arab school to open in his town.
By David Lev
First Publish: 8/5/2013, 5:34 PM

Upper Nazareth
Upper Nazareth
Flash90

In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Shimon Gapsu, the Mayor of Upper Nazareth, said that he would not allow the establishment of a school for Arabs in his town. “There is no need for such a school here, and as long as I am mayor one will not be established here,” Gapsu told Arutz Sheva in an interview. There are plenty of schools for the Arab community in the area of Upper Nazareth, he said, so there was no need for Arabs students to study in his town.

Upper Nazareth was established as a development town to increase the Jewish presence in the lower Galilee, but in recent years numerous Arab families have moved into the town. Today, there are some 1,900 children of Arab families living in the town, the vast majority of whom commute to Nazareth, where they study in Arabic. Schools in Nazareth are overcrowded, the Education Ministry said, and solutions for these children are needed.

One of those solutions is construction of a school for Arab children within Upper Nazareth, said MK MK Amram Mitzna (Hatnu'ah). In a Facebook posting, Mitzna wrote that if the mayor of New York had declared that he would not allow a Jewish school in his city, “there would be a riot.” Mitzna said that he had consulted with Education Minister Shai Piron, who agreed that construction of a school for Arab children in the town was a good idea.

According to Gapsu, however, the Education Ministry had told him that it had made no decision on the matter, and that the school was Mitzna's idea, not the Ministry's. Gapsu said that Mitzna was being intimidated by Arab MKs, who had made establishing an Arab school in his town a “do or die” objective. “There are alternative solutions, and there is no need for an Arab school here,” Gapsu said.

Already, he said, the city pays for the transport of Arab students to Nazareth, which is just a few minutes away by bus from Upper Nazareth. But if that was too far for the students, he said, there were closer solutions, such as construction of a school in an Arab village bordering Upper Nazareth. “It's just a matter of a few hundred meters,” he said, adding that “it appears the Arab MKs are just trying to make a provocation with their demand.”

Gapsu said that he was prepared to deal with the possibility that the High Court would try to force him to allow construction of an Arab school. “I am not afraid of them,” he said. “This is a Jewish town, and anyone who wants to live here and wants to send their child to an Arab school must take into consideration that their child will have to commute.” Shai Piron can say what he wants, Gapsu added. “What matters is the opinion of his boss, the Prime Minister,” who is against the idea, he added.