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Combating Racism

Students at Hartman High School speak out against racism in Israeli society

The Charles E. Smith High School for Boys places a strong emphasis on social justice, requiring every student to participate in a volunteer project for the betterment of society. Two tenth grade students recently wrote about their social involvement and how it has influenced them.

Many Israeli youth find it difficult to accept the fact that there are migrants in our country. We, 10th grade students at the Hartman High School in Jerusalem, made a personal commitment to volunteer with the migrant community through a project that we are calling Born Migrants.

As part of the Born Migrants project, established in our school last year, we visit the Gan Nitzanim nursery school in Beit Shmuel every week. Gan Nitzanim serves the children of migrant and foreign workers who must work overtime. Our role is to spend time with the kids and to help them to develop in a country that is foreign to them, until their parents return from work.

The nursery school was established because the state was afraid of the reaction of parents of Israeli children if these children were to be placed in a regular framework. This is a difficult situation for the children of migrant workers to grow up in. By law, the state must protect every individual without discrimination. However, these children feel that they are not wanted here even though they cannot be deported. Meanwhile, the State prefers not to look at what is happening, and these children grow up in a confusing reality – they are here but they are not wanted.

We chose to participate in this project because our government is not sensitive enough to the will of these children to integrate. We connected to the children very quickly and they are very loved. We feel that there must be some change because this situation is not just – not for us and not for them. The continuation of this situation will have severe implications for the lives of these children. Racism in Israel must be stopped. The citizens of our country must open their eyes and not judge migrant workers living among us without being acquainted with their situation. 

We are so happy that we have the opportunity to participate in this project. It has made us recognize the general failure of our society to understand the severity of this situation. Working with these children gives us the feeling that we are doing something beneficial. We must continue to fight the racism that is overwhelming our country. 

Yitzhak Grundin
Ariel Sylvester
Grade 10, Charles E. Smith High School for Boys 

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