Jerusalem, Israel – Current discussions about a freeze on expansion of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria have direct bearing on the future of the school system in these communities.Overcrowding in Judea and Samaria school classes is particularly problematic, and pupils often study in classes with leaking roofs. The Israel Education Ministry has granted permission to construct additional education facilities there, but due to the Israel Defense Ministry’s building freeze, construction has been prevented.

Israel Education Minister Gidon Saar recently demanded of Defense Minister Ehud Barak that he unfreeze the construction of those kindergartens and classrooms that are recognized by the Education Ministry in Samaria. Residents in Samaria are threatening to put the schools on strike next week. In a letter sent by Samaria Regional Council Chairman Gershon Mesika to the Knesset Education and Culture Committee, Mr. Mesika argues that the children are being used “as hostages of the policy of drying out the Jewish settlements in Samaria.”

The director of education in the council, Yohai Damari, said that the freeze was a political act harmful to the children.

“Thousands of students are learning in trailers, detached from their pedagogical environment,” Mr. Damari said.

According to Mr. Damari, the Israel Education Ministry has granted approval for 24 construction projects of school and kindergarten classes and even allocated funds for these after deeming them essential.

“Defense Minister Ehud Barak is discriminating against the children of Samaria because of a political agenda,” said Knesset Parliament Education and Culture Committee Chairman Zvulun Orlev. “As a result, many children are not being provided with a decent learning environment.”

According to Mr. Orlev, the children study in crowded classrooms that do not meet regulations, and often, due to scarcity of schools near their homes, are forced to take transportation that puts their lives in danger to study.

“There are in Samaria certain education facilities where conditions are worse than in refugee camps,” added Mr. Orlev. “This is an intolerable situation that cannot be allowed to continue.”

The Israel Defense Ministry issued a response saying that Mr. Saar’s complaint is “being examined by the professional officials in the Defense Ministry.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Previous articleThe fate of the new “enemies” of the Iranian revolution
Next articleFatah Conference: August 2009: A Major Opportunity Denied
David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.