On July 9, 2019, 129 asylum seekers and immigrant residents from Petah Tikva, along with ACRI and ASSAF - Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers, petitioned the Municipality of Petah Tikva and the Ministry of Education. The petition was filed following the Petah Tikva municipality's refusal to enroll children in the city who are Israeli residents but not citizens, in particular children of Eritrean asylum seekers, and against the existence of separate kindergartens for foreigners in the city.
The petitioners demanded that the municipality immediately enroll the children in the city's educational institutions for the upcoming school year, and that the Ministry of Education should exercise its powers to secure enrollment. The petitioners also asked the court to affirm that registration policies for educational institutions based on skin, nationality, origin, or race, are discriminatory and prohibited by law, and that the Petah Tikva municipality should not be allowed to maintain separate educational frameworks for children of asylum seekers and foreigners.
The petition, filed through the Clinic for Law and Education Policy at the University of Haifa and ACRI, claims that the local authority and the Ministry of Education have a legal obligation to grant mandatory education to all children in Israel, regardless of their origin, skin color, or status in the country. It was also claimed that the refusal to enroll children and the pre-existing separation in kindergartens mark the children of asylum seekers as inferior and severely violates their constitutional rights to education, equality, and dignity. The petitioners stated that refusal to enroll children is a continuation of the racist policies imposed by the mayor on asylum seekers who live in the city, along with a series of attempts to oust them from Petah Tikva through trampling on their most basic rights.
A hearing on the petition was held on 17.7.2019. In light of the court's comments, the municipality announced that it will open the registration for the school year for the asylum seekers and foreigners living in the city, and that their parents will be notified in writing about the placement, which will be carried out in accordance with the registration areas. The petition was subsequently canceled.
Reg. 19757-07-19 B.G. v. Petah Tikva Municipality
Attorney: Haran Reichman (from the Clinic for Law and Education Policy of the Faculty of Law at the University of Haifa), Tal Hassin (ACRI)
For further information (Hebrew)