Right for Representation/Dismissal of the Head of Bedouin Education Authority (BEA).

HCJ 7383/01, Megel el-Hawashleh, et. al. v. Minister of Education, et. al.

Petition filed in 9/01 on behalf of 49 petitioners including parents’ committees, pupils and NGOs against the Minister of Education (MOE) and the Head of the BEA, Mr. Moshe Shohat. The petition asked the Court to order the MOE to launch an investigation to comprehensively examine Mr. Shohat’s management practices, to dismiss him in light of racist statements that he made, and to publicly advertise for his replacement among the Arab community in the Naqab. In an interview with the Jewish Week, Mr. Shohat spoke of “bloodthirsty Bedouins who commit polygamy, have thirty children, and continue to expand their illegal settlements, taking over state land” and that, “[i]n their culture, they take care of their needs outdoors. They don’t even know how to flush a toilet.” Mr. Shohat has served as the Head of the BEA for 16 years. The BEA is the agency appointed by the MOE to manage the education system in the unrecognized villages in the Naqab. After numerous hearings at which the MOE denied having the power to dismiss Mr. Shohat, and in 7/02, subsequent to arguments filed by Adalah, the MOE stated that it intended to recommend the BEA head’s dismissal on the basis of mismanagement, misconduct and financial irregularities uncovered as a result of the investigation it launched after the filing of the petition.

In 3/03, the MOE Director General sent a letter ordering the dismissal of Mr. Shohat. By mid-2003 he was finally compelled to leave his position. Regarding the issue of Mr. Shohat’s replacement, the press reported in 9/03 that an individual had been appointed by the MOE, without a bid and without notification to the petitioners or the Court. After requesting information from the Attorney General’s Office regarding the state’s position on the matter, Adalah filed a motion in 11/03 for an injunction against the appointment. In the motion, Adalah demanded that a bid be published and that a qualified Arab candidate be appointed to the position. The state claimed that the new appointment was temporary, and made in the usual course of filling vacant positions. At a hearing in 5/04, the AG's Office notified the Supreme Court that the state intends to dismantle the BEA by 1/05, on the grounds of mismanagement. The state also informed the Court that in place of the BEA, the newly planned Abu-Basma Regional Council would provide all educational services to children living in the seven newly-planned Palestinian Bedouin towns in the Naqab in addition to the unrecognized villages in the Naqab. Adalah countered that the state’s position was unreasonable, since the individual currently filling the post was appointed outside of any legal process, and that the Abu-Basma Regional Council was merely in the planning stages, and not in existence in order to shoulder the enormous responsibility of not only providing educational services to the newly-planned towns to fall within its jurisdiction, but also to the thousands of children from the unrecognized villages.

Result: The Supreme Court decided that there was no further need to continue hearing the case on the grounds that the main purpose of the petition – the dismissal of Moshe Shohat – had been met, and that there was no need for a public bid given the state’s commitment before the Court to dismantle the BEA by 1/05.


H.C. 7383/01, Megel el-Hawashleh, et al. v. Minister of Education, et al. (petition dismissed).