Jerusalem Schools to Shut Down Thursday
Most schools in Jerusalem above the primary level will be closed on Thursday, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Parent-Teacher Association Chairwoman Paz Cohen announced on Wednesday, due to the heightened terror threat and the lack of adequate funds for security, Israel’s Walla News reported.
According to the report, the Israeli government funds security for schools in accordance with police recommendations until 1:30 p.m. But most of the capital’s middle and high schoolers study until 4:00 p.m., so during the interim hours Jerusalem’s schools are left without guards.
“In the wake of today’s [terrorist attacks], every additional delay [in approving an enhanced budget] constitutes an abandonment of our children,” Barkat said.
Cohen agreed. In view of the deterioration of the city’s security situation, she said, it is “inconceivable” for security guards to end their shifts while kids are still in school.
“If, God forbid, a disaster were to occur, who would be responsible?” she asked rhetorically.
Barkat stressed that the budget for school security is the government’s responsibility, and not that of the Jerusalem Municipality.
“Just as City Hall is not required to pay the salaries of police officers, it is also not required to pay the salaries of school security guards. That is the full responsibility of the state,” he said.
The shut-down applies to state religious schools — from grades 6-12 — and all haredi and Arab schools.