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Bilingual School Teaches Lesson in Coexistence

A bilingual school for Jewish and Arab children is showing promising results for tolerance even as random aggression toward Arabs has increased in Israel in the last three months without reaction from the government, writes Akiva Eldar.
Israel's Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu listens to Gideon Sa'ar, a member of the Knesset, during a party meeting at the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem February 11, 2009. Israel headed for political gridlock on Wednesday with both Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's centrist Kadima party and Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party declaring victory in an election that left the prospect of Israel and the Palestinians making peace as distant as ever. REUTERS/Baz Ratner (JERUSALEM) - RTXBIAC
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Located in Wadi Ara, Kfar Kara is home to the bilingual school named Bridge Over the Wadi. At the top of the small village, in perfect coexistence, Jewish and Arab children get to know each other and speak each other’s language.

While recognized by the Ministry of Education, this school does not get much recognition from Gideon Saar, the person who still heads the ministry. The minister has not even once taken the trouble to pay a visit to this school. By contrast, Maestro Zubin Mehta paid a visit last year, barely concealing his emotions. Beating a rhythm on the mountaintop, the school’s percussion band welcomed the maestro who listened to them attentively. Relating that he couldn’t tell the Jewish and Arab children apart, he then added emotionally: “I told myself, why should it even matter?” And it’s all happening in two languages. Each classroom has two teachers, from both nationalities. The principal is an Arab.

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