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Israeli school principal faces hearing after inviting human rights group for talk

B'tselem was banned from schools after deeming Israel an apartheid state [Getty]

Date of publication: 21 January, 2021

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Rights group B'Tselem was banned from schools after saying that Israel is an apartheid regime.
An Israeli principal is facing a disciplinary hearing this week after inviting a banned pro-Palestinian NGO to give a talk at his high school.

The education ministry summoned Mendi Rabinowitz, principal of the Hebrew Reali School in Haifa, after he allowed a talk by the director of Israeli NGO B'Tselem to go forward after a government ban.

Education Minister Yoav Gallant banned schools from hosting representatives of organisations that "treat IDF soldiers with contempt and call Israel an apartheid state" on Sunday. 

That directive was issued shortly after B'Tselem published a report claiming that Israel was an apartheid "regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea".

On Monday, more than 300 12th grade students at the Hebrew Reali School attended a Zoom talk lecture by Hagai El-Ad, B'Tselem's director. 

Nave Dromi, a newspaper columnist who heads the Israeli branch of conservative think tank the Middle East Forum, addressed students at the same event.

Lawyer Daniel Haklai and civil rights attorney Oded Feller also took part in the series of talks entitled "Military control in Judea and Samaria and protecting human rights – can they go together?". Judea and Samaria refers to the occupied West Bank.


The high school had requested clarification about the legal basis for the ban on talks from human rights organisations like B'Tselem but received no reply and went ahead with the lecture, Haaretz reported.

Education Ministry Director-General Amit Edri summoned the school's principal and its manager director, Yosi Ben-Dov, in a letter on Wednesday.

Rabinowitz conducted himself in a manner "inconsistent with legal provisions and the norms expected of any instructor, and especially a principal", Edri said in the letter.

Remarks made by the B'Tselem director during the lecture "stand in stark contrast to the goals of public education... and have a detrimental effect on students", the director-general claimed.

The disciplinary hearing is set to take place on Sunday.

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