Arab school in Jerusalem closed for incitement

Elementary school affiliated with Hamas closed over incitement in curriculum: 'Our sovereignty in Jerusalem begins.'

Gary Willig ,

Arab school in eastern Jerusalem
Arab school in eastern Jerusalem

An Arab elementary school in eastern Jerusalem was closed due to incitement in the school, according to a report by the Mako Hebrew news site.

The unusual step of closing an academic institution was taken after it was discovered that the school had been established by officials affiliated with the Hamas terrorist organization and that the curriculum included severe incitement against the State of Israel. The Education Ministry, the Jerusalem police, and the Shin Bet issued an order to close the school.

According to David Bedein of the Center for Near East Policy in Jerusalem, which has been closely studying Arab schools in the PA and Gaza for years, the source of the incitement in the curriculum is the PA and Hamas has no connection to the school.

The Supreme Court upheld the order to shut down the school and rejected a petition by the company which operated the school. The court approved the decision of the Education Ministry to close the school in the Sur Baher neighborhood of Jerusalem Thursday.

The Education Ministry issued the order to close the school, which serves students in grades one through six, several weeks ago. However, the school's principal refused to comply with the order to close the institution and filed a complaint with the police. The principal was detained for questioning by police today and released under restrictive conditions.

The Education Ministry had refused to extend the license for the school to continue operating during the current school year due to the incitement in the curriculum. However, the school continued to operate illegally, leading to the need for a court order to close the institution.

Alternative schooling has been found for the 220 students who attended the school.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett wrote on his Twitter account: "Anyone who incites against Israel will not be part of the education system. My policy is clear and consistent: all cases of incitement will be dealt with and will be treated with the utmost severity... just as we did not hesitate to fire principals and teachers during the past year, we will not hesitate to close schools."

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan added: "Our sovereignty in Jerusalem begins. We will not allow terrorist organizations into Jerusalem. All the incitement and the support for terrorism must be countered with a firm hand."