Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel

Education

We Succeeded in Our Efforts to Integrate Children of Asylum-Seekers in Public School Systems in Eilat

From 2008 on, the Eilat municipality refused to register the children of asylum-seekers in schools there, and separated them from the children of residents. They were sent to a separate school, in an abandoned and neglected structure outside the town which did  not meet the criteria of an educational institution. The municipality discriminated against the 50 children of refugees and asylum-seekers from Sudan and Eritrea living in Eilat, and denied them the right to a decent and equal education. It is noteworthy that this is irregular conduct in view of the policy of the Ministry of Education and local councils in Israel, namely that children without status attend regular schools.

The protracted struggle against this discriminatory policy ended in August 2012 when the district court accepted the petition of Assaf and other organizations, declared that the policy of separate education was illegal and ordered the integration of the children of asylum-seekers into Eilat schools. The court severely criticized the separation policy and  stated that "fear of the stranger is a known fear and can be understood but not accepted. The fears of parents of Eilat children regarding the integration of children of asylum-seekers into the town's regular educational system are unfounded and cannot constitute a deterrent consideration against the integration of the latter into the town's educational system." The appeal of the Ministry of Education and the Eilat municipality to the Supreme Court was rejected, and since the beginning of the 2012 school year the children of asylum-seekers in Eilat have been attending regular public schools.