Encouraging reading – for Jewish students only?
In recent months, two new and welcome projects have been launched by the National Library of Israel and the Ministry of Education: the pocket library program, which is a program to instill a love of reading and books through audio books available at all times to all middle school students, and the "Joy of Reading" program, in which schools will receive a package of books containing 30 copies of four respective titles.
Despite the importance of the programs on a pedagogic level and the financial investment involved in their implementation, ACRI’s examination indicates that both are intended solely for Jewish middle school students. ACRI appealed to the Director General of the Ministry of Education and the Director of the National Library of Israel and demanded that the programs be immediately adapted for Arab middle school students, as well.
ACRI Attorney Raghad Jaraisy claims that providing an important and innovative service solely to Jewish students whose mother tongue is Hebrew is prohibited discrimination and violates Arab students' rights to education and equality. The lack of accessibility of services and content in Arabic also sends students, their families, and Arab educators, a discriminatory and problematic message, according to which there are some populations that the Ministry cares about and seeks to advance and invest in more than others.