Adalah to Haifa Mayor: Ensure equality in resources for students in Arab private schools

After learning that private Arab schools in Haifa do not receive any funds from the equipment budget and that the Haifa municipality funded transportation to and from schools only for ultra-Orthodox Jewish students, Adalah demanded the adoption and disclosure of uniform, transparent criteria for the allocation of funds to private schools.

On 23 March 2022, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, sent a letter to the Haifa Mayor Einat Kalisch-Rotem and to the municipality’s legal advisor demanding they act to ensure equal funding for private Arab schools in Haifa. Many of the Arab schools in the city are considered ‘recognized but non-official’ schools, which are run by private bodies but supervised and partially funded by the Education Ministry. This privatization of education is due to the neglect and discrimination suffered by state Arab schools as compared to Israeli Jewish schools.


              CLICK HERE to read Adalah’s letter


Adalah’s request follows the mayor’s response to inquiries submitted by city council members, which revealed that the municipality did not allocate any of the city funds designated to equip recognized, private schools to Arab schools. Out of a municipal budget of NIS 555,015 (≈ US $172,000), Arab schools did not receive any funding. In a response to another inquiry, the mayor detailed how in 2021 the municipality funded students` transportation to two ultra-orthodox Jewish schools, while it did not fund the transportation for Arab students at all, despite Arab students’ need for these services as well.


In the letter, Adalah Attorney Salam Irsheid argued that the allocation of resources is unreasonable and is inconsistent with the mayor’s declarations that inequality in education must be reduced in light of decades of ongoing neglect of the Arab education system in Haifa. Adalah further argued that the manner in which the budgets are allocated is contrary to the objectives of the State Education Law, which, among other things, aims to ensure that local authorities’ budget recognized, private schools according to uniform and transparent criteria. In one of her responses, the Haifa mayor mentioned extremely vague criteria that leave wide discretion to the authorities and raise concerns as to their relevance. Thus, Adalah demanded that the Haifa municipality act to ensure equality in the allocation of resources to recognized, private schools and that it establishes clear, uniform and equal criteria for the allocations.


Adalah Attorney Salam Irsheid added:


“The decision to allocate no funds whatsoever to Arab schools out of half million shekels designated to provide equipment to private schools and to exclude these schools from budgets covering transportation services is extremely unreasonable, especially that most Arab students in Haifa study in these schools. The mayor’s declarations that gaps must be closed in the education system have no value unless actions are taken. As a first step, the municipality must adhere to the most basic rules of good administration, as the distribution of public resources must be done in a transparent, fair manner and according to clear criteria and not according to political or other needs."


Photo taken from the official Facebook page of the Education Ministry – Haifa district