MK Jabareen Blasts Education Minister Over Failure to Translate Arab Pupils’ Diplomas into Arabic

MK Yousef Jabareen (Hadash – Joint List) blasted Minister of Education Naftali Bennett on Wednesday, March 1, over the failure of his ministry to translate Arab pupils’ high school diplomas from Hebrew to Arabic, something which makes it more difficult for them apply to universities and colleges in Arabic-speaking countries. Jabareen (Hadash – Joint List) called Bennett’s explanation for the policy “outrageous,” adding that it “expresses a disregard for the rights of Israeli Arab pupils and the status of their mother tongue.”

A gift for Education Ministry Bennett: an Arabic alphabet

A gift for Education Ministry Bennett: an Arabic alphabet

In response to a query submitted by Jabareen, Bennett explained in the Knesset plenum that the ministry is unable to translate Arab pupils’ diplomas into Arabic because of the difficulty in correctly spelling their names in Arabic. Bennett said that the issue had been previously discussed in the Education Ministry and various possibilities were examined, but said “There are many difficulties with implementing this request because of the lack of data and documents in Arabic.”

MK Jabareen submitted the query to Bennett two weeks ago, noting, “Arabic is an official state language and is the mother tongue of more than a fifth of the pupils in the educational system. Yet both the matriculation eligibility certificates and the matriculation certificates [high school diplomas] themselves are issued solely in Hebrew.” He noted, “Eligibility and matriculation certificates are crucial nowadays to the thousands of pupils who choose to continue their education in Jordan or the Palestinian Authority. The lack of a certificate in Arabic poses difficulties for the pupils, and forces them to personally arrange for translating the certificates and getting the translations notarized, with all the trouble and expense this involves.”

Jabareen told Haaretz, “The education minister’s response is outrageous, and expresses a disregard for the rights of Arab pupils and the status of their mother tongue. Some 25% of all Israeli pupils study in the Arab education system, and it is inconceivable not to issue them matriculation certificates in Arabic.”