Postcard from... Jerusalem


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Arsonists set fire to my daughters’ school at the weekend in a hate crime against the only primary institution in the city where Arabs and Jews learn together.

No one was hurt but this was an escalation over previous acts of hate. My four-year-old, Talya, heard us talking about the fire. She grew anxious for her toys, thinking they had been burned. Seven-year-old Alona was only slightly less worried. “I want it to stop,” she said. We sent our children to Hand in Hand largely because we believe in its values of humanism and equality. Unfortunately, these concepts are currently under attack not only from arsonists  but from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In setting fire to the school, the assailants were targeting a rare place where equality is not just a slogan: classes are taught together in Hebrew  and Arabic, and the calendar  is shared with holidays  of Judaism, Christianity  and Islam.

This attack was no isolated event but rather a telling symptom of a very deep malady that starts at the top. Even if more security guards are posted and parents’ worst fears for the safety of their children do not materialise, the larger problem of a government that itself rides the waves of racism will remain.