Hamas-funded East Jerusalem school to be closed down for incitement

Louai Ibkirat, the Palestinian headteacher of the Al-Nkhba School poses for a picture outside the school in Sur Baher, in East Jerusalem on February 23, 2017, earlier that day the school was closed over allegations that is run by the Hamas terror group. (Photo: Flash90)

Israel’s Supreme Court has ruled that a Hamas-funded school in East Jerusalem must be shut down immediately. After months of joint surveillance by the Israeli Ministry of Education, the Secret Service and Israeli police, it was determined that the al-Nukhaba Elementary School has been promoting incitement against Israeli Jews though a violent, anti-Israel curriculum.

The school, which was operating illegally without a license, had some 220 pupils. Jerusalem’s municipality was charged with finding new elementary schools for all the children.

“My policy is clear and coherent: Cases of incitement will continue to be treated with the utmost severity,” Education Minister Naftali Bennet said. “Schools in East Jerusalem that elect to follow the Israeli curriculum will get the full set of tools they need to succeed, while those choosing [to promote] incitement will be closed.”

There has been considerable debate and concern that youngsters in the Palestinian educational system are being taught to hate Israel and deny its right exist.

In 2015, Palestinian Media Watch (an Israeli research institute that studies Palestinian society) published a comprehensive report on Palestinian Authority education which notes, among other things, that many schools are named after terrorists, and refers to instances where educators “present murderers as role models and promise a world without Israel.”

In particular, PMW notes the removal of Israel from maps in educational material.

“A number of teachers have published pictures on social media of maps of Palestine (i.e., the PA map of ‘Palestine’ that presents all of Israel as ‘Palestine’ together with the PA areas) that were published in the national schoolbooks for second grade, which show errors in the location of the Palestinian cities on the map,” PMW noted.

Meanwhile some 150 former students have yet to be placed in new schools. Parents blamed the Jerusalem Municipality for failing to find alternate schooling for them while the municipality claims that since the Hamas-sponsored school was private, most of the kids are not registered with the public school system, presenting a challenge.

The Education Ministry had originally told the school it could not open in September and only issued the order to close after it continued to operate for several months.