Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel

The campaign for integration of children of asylum seekers into Eliat’s public education system

In 2008, the municipality of Eilat began to refuse admitting children of asylum seekers in schools in the city. Instead, the children of asylum seekers were sent to a school separate from those of Israeli residents and citizens. The school operated in a neglected and previously abandoned building outside the city and did not meet the standards required of educational institutions. This policy denying equality in education affected about fifty students of different ages, sons and daughters of refugees and asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea who were living in Eilat.

The protracted struggle against this discriminatory policy culminated in August 2012, when the District Court ruled in favour of the suit filed by ASSAF and other organizations. The court ruled that the policy of segregation in education is illegal and ordered the integration of the children of asylum seekers into the city's schools. The court strongly criticized the policy of segregation and stated that "fear of the foreigner is well-familiar and therefore can be understood, but can never be accepted. The concern some parents from Eilat have expressed to the municipality, fearing the integration of children of asylum seekers into the city’s public education system, is unfounded and cannot be taken into consideration as a reason to exclude children from the city's educational institutions."

The Ministry of Education and Eilat Municipality filed an appeal against this ruling o the Supreme Court, but the appeal was rejected. At the start of the  2012 academic year, the children of the asylum seekers in Eilat were integrated into the city’s public education system.