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Volume 14, June 2005

As a Result of Adalah's Petition, AG Informs Supreme Court of Cancellation of GSS Position in Education Ministry's Arab Education Division

On 22 June 2005, the Attorney General (AG) announced to Israel's Supreme Court the cancellation of a policy by which a General Security Services (GSS) representative serves as the deputy director of the Arab Education Division in the Ministry of Education (MOE). The AG informed the Court that the MOE accepts the recommendation of the Dovrat Committee, which stated in its report that, "The MOE intends to cancel the position of the deputy director of the Arab Education Division as soon as possible. We recommend that, in the future, a similar position should not be created in the Arab Education Division or in any of its departments. The regional administrator and the MOE will be responsible for preventing the appointment or ordering the dismissal of teachers, principals and other staff members, whether Jews or Arabs, who fail to fulfill official aims."

Responding to the AG's announcement, Adalah stated that, whilst it considered the intended cancellation of the GSS post an important step, future appointments should be monitored to ensure that the GSS does not find new ways to intervene in the Arab Education Division.

The new announcement contradicts the AG's previous position, set forth in a 20 October 2004 submission of the AG to the Supreme Court, in which the AG did not acknowledge the existence of the GSS representative in the Arab Education Division. The AG, however, claimed that, under the Criminal Record Law – 1981, the MOE has the authority and is charged with the duty of gaining as much information as possible from the GSS to investigate the potential criminal background of applicants for teacher, principal and inspector positions in the MOE. Adalah responded before the Supreme Court that this law does not authorize a GSS representative to intervene in appointments and dismissals.

The AG's announcement followed a petition submitted by Adalah on 6 September 2004, on behalf of the Union of Parents of Arab Students in Israel and in its own name, in which it demanded that the GSS be prohibited from intervening in the appointment of educators in the MOE's Arab Education Division. The petition was submitted by Adalah Attorney Marwan Dalal against the GSS, the MOE and the Prime Minister's Office. In the petition, Adalah requested that the Supreme Court deliver an order nisi (order to show cause) to prevent the GSS from intervening in the appointments and dismissals of educational staff in the Arab Education Division. Adalah argued that the GSS's intervention in the decisions of the Arab Education Division, including in decisions related to the appointments of staff in the Division, is conducted through the post of the Division's deputy director, which is held by a GSS representative. The GSS representative participates in committee sessions that approve bids for appointments in the Arab Education Division, including bids for appointing school principals, and the GSS representative's opinion determines which candidates are accepted for teaching posts in the Division, Adalah stated.

Adalah contended that the GSS's intervention in Arab educational matters results in unreasonable discrimination against candidates for educational posts who are Palestinian citizens of Israel, and harms the basic right to education of Arab students. Adalah argued that such intervention allows a culture of fear, control and silencing to prevail, and that it harms the right of freedom of occupation for Arab candidates. Moreover, the deputy director's opinion is not recorded in the protocols of the appointments committee's sessions and, when a candidate is rejected due to the objections of the GSS representative, the MOE never informs the candidate of the reasons for his/her rejection. Arab applicants are thereby denied the right to a fair proceeding and the right to contest the committee's decisions.

H.C. 8193/04, Union of Parents of Arab Students in Israel, et. al. v. The Ministry of Education, et. al.

 The Petition (H)
 The State's Response, October 2004 (H)
 Adalah's Response, November 2004 (H)
 The State's Final Response, June 2005 (H)