Nursery expels Arab infant

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THIS WILL not look good on his curriculum vitae. At a later age Wassim Huri, an Israeli-Arab from Beersheba in southern Israel, will have to admit he was expelled from school.

It happened earlier this week when Alona Ben Sheetrit, one of Wassim's teachers, told his parents that he must leave the school.

His career prospects are unlikely to be damaged. For a start Wassim is not yet two years old.

The reason Ms Ben Sheetrit, who is also the pre-school director of the school, asked him to leave was that two Jewish parents complained that they did not want their children to play with an Arab.

Yaakov Terner, the mayor of Beersheba, immediately appealed to the nursery school teacher to reinstate the infant. His father, Philip Huri, an engineer, said he would not let his son go back to a kindergarten that has caused his family such pain and shame.

Ms Ben Sheetrit now has second thoughts. She now says she made a mistake. She told Israel's Channel Two television: "I was under pressure. I told parents I could no longer receive their son in pre-school."

Since the case was publicised by the Israeli media the Huri family has been deluged with offers of a place in other kindergartens in Beersheba willing to take their son.

"Many teachers have called us," said Mr Huri. "Everything has worked out fine. My wife is choosing a new pre-school today."

The Israeli Education Ministry said it was wrong to have expelled the infant but added it could take no action because the kindergarten was privately owned.