The website Ynet, affiliated with the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, published an article on Thursday, February13, in which it revealed that the Director-General of the Education Ministry, Shmuel Abuav, recently met with representatives of the Shin Bet domestic security service to discuss various issues related to the education system in the Arab community in Israel and occupied East Jerusalem. The existence of the meeting was documented in Abuav’s diary, which was obtained by Ynet following a petition by the the Movement for Freedom of Information.
According the Ynet, during the meeting, which was held in Abuav’s office last November, the ministry chief and two Shin Bet representatives discussed matters related to students in Israel’s Arab schools. Sources in the ministry said that the meeting had, among other things, significant security objectives. Abdullah Khatib, who heads the Arab Education Department at the Education Ministry, also attended the meeting. While the conversation covered civil issues related to all Israeli students, the focus was solely on the Arab student body. Among other things, the Shin Bet representatives received an overview of the trends in informal education among Arab students and their participation in various youth movements and organizations.
The meeting also discussed a five-year program by the Education Ministry in occupied East Jerusalem and the efforts to introduce the Israeli curriculum to schools in the occupied area.
In 2017, Ynet’s sister publication Yedioth Ahronoth reported that the Education Ministry and Shin Bet had cooperated on the appointment of Arab teaching staff, despite public criticism. Three former education ministers – Yossi Sarid, Shulamit Aloni and Amnon Rubinstein – have also claimed in the past that the intelligence service was indeed involved in the appointment of Arab teaching staff. Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, petitioned the High Court in 2004 demanding that this collaboration – which includes a position within the ministry’s department for Arab education – be stopped.