Students left without safe transportation to school

Chabad parents living in Gilboa Regional Council complain of lack of funding for school transportation, say they're second-class citizens.

Tags: schools Gilboa
Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Parents gather after meeting the Regional Council representatives
Parents gather after meeting the Regional Council representatives
Chaya Mushka Bezalel

In the Gilboa Regional Council in northern Israel, 11 girls are waiting with anticipation to start the new school year - but they may not be able to.

These girls spent over six wonderful years at their local Chabad school, Chabad Avital, but next year they may have no class, since not enough girls are registered.

Their next-best option is the Chabad school in Nazareth Illit, but the Regional Council will not offer any assistance to help the girls to get to school safely.

Instead, the Regional Council offered two solutions: Go to Ulpanat Tzvia, a private school located in Afula that does follow the same value system that the girls have learned up until now. Nine girls from the Regional Council learn there, and they enjoy a free bus to and from school.

Or, take public transportation. With the lack of adequate public transportation in the Regional Council, this would mean that eleven-year-old girls would need to leave their homes at 6:30a.m. and return home at 7:15p.m. It also doesn't guarantee the girls will arrive on time in the morning.

Concerned parents also noted that the bus the girls would take is the same bus which brings Palestinian Authority Arab workers into Israel at the Gilboa crossing - the closest crossing to Jenin, which is "the suicide bomber capital of the world."

Last year, a few girls were able to get a ride with a special education bus that happened to travel the same route. This year, however, the Regional Council will not allow that option, and even if it did, it would not be possible for all 11 girls.

According to parents, the Regional Council has no problem offering free buses to students who wish to learn at Ohel Meir, a religious public school in Afula, even though there is already a religious public school - Chabad Avital - in the area.

"Even if we are only 1% of the population, we deserve 1% of the budget, but we get nothing..." one mother said.

"We like were we live, but on paper it's sounds atrocious, our local Chabad school is second class, our children can't continue the education they start with, we have mikvahs that are underfunded and we have synagogues being threatened to be demolished, I won't even start on zero funding for any cultural events.

"I really hate to say it, but our Regional Council does not support the religious residents. We are made to feel outsiders in our own home that we pay taxes on."

In a Monday meeting with the parents, the Regional Council said there is nothing they can do about the situation.

The Gilboa Regional Council told Arutz Sheva: "The Gilboa Regional Council encourages its students to enroll in the excellent schools which operate in Gilboa. With great sensitivity and with a complete desire to help, every other request is handled according to the guidelines and direction of the Education Ministry.