Days of Palestine

Monday, February 6

In Israel, Arabs get far less school funding than Israelis

Days of Palestine -

An Arab student in a municipal high school in Jerusalem gets less than half the funding of his Jewish counterpart, Israeli newspaper Haaretz revealed on Tuesday.

In fact, there are East Jerusalem (Areas with Arab majorities) schools that do not even get the funds that the Israeli education ministry gives the city for them, as is shown by an analysis of the municipality budget.

The municipality claims that the analysis is incorrect and ignores the differences between the educational systems.

There are 782 pupils in the Beit Hinuch High School in western Jerusalem, only for Jewish students, and 783 in Ras al-Amud Boys’ High School in east Jerusalem, only for Arab students.

Both are municipal high schools, meaning that their budgets come from the municipality and the education ministry.

According to Haaretz, the total budget allocated by the city for Beit Hinuch in 2016 is 16.3 million shekels ($4.3 million,) while the Arab school, with the same number of pupils, will be getting only 2.9 million shekels ($766,993).

In addition, the Israeli newspaper revealed that the number of teaching positions approved for Beit Hinuch is 70.8, while for Ras al-Amud it is only 21.7.

A comparison of every clause in the budget indicates that the funding for the western Jerusalem school is immeasurably higher than that of its East Jerusalem counterpart.

The city also claimed that extra money is spent on renovations in East Jerusalem, but the budget shows that the Arab sector actually gets the least of any of the three sectors (general, ultra-Orthodox, and Arab) for renovations.

Arab schools received eight million shekels for renovations this year, while ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) schools got 42 million shekels and secular and national religious schools got 46 million shekels.

Moreover, a check of the funds transferred by the education ministry indicates that Arab schools do not get the amount allocated to them by the ministry.

In west Jerusalem, by contrast, not only does the city spend all the money it receives from the government, it adds additional funding from the municipal budget.

Thus, for example, the education ministry budgeted 4.9 million shekels for the school in Ras al-Amud, but it only received 2.9 million shekels from the city.

Beit Hinuch, on the other hand, received the full 14.9 million shekels budgeted by the ministry with an additional 1.4 million shekels from the ministry.

Discriminatory practice is not unique to these two schools. An inquiry conducted by city councillor Laura Wharton (Meretz) showed that 11 of the 17 city high schools in East Jerusalem got less money, sometimes millions less, than had been provided by the education ministry.

In West Jerusalem the opposite is true; every single school except one got more money than the funding provided by the government, meaning the city augmented their budgets with its own funds.