The head of Israeli human rights group B’Tselem gave a webinar to students in Haifa on Monday in defiance of an order by Education Minister Yoav Gallant, who said he was banning members of groups that “call Israel false derogatory names” from entering schools in the country.
Gallant’s announcement followed a decision by B’Tselem to begin referring to Israel as an “apartheid state.”
The outlet said that when there was no response, the educational institution decided to hold the online event, which was attended by nearly 300 12th-grade students and staff members.
“We are proud of the high level of involvement of our students in issues that are at the core of the agenda, and we intend to continue the tradition,” the school said in a statement to the Walla news site.
In a Sunday letter to his office’s director and to school district managers, Gallant said entry to schools should be prohibited to “groups that act in contradiction to the education system’s goals, including calling Israel false derogatory names, opposing Israel as a Jewish, Zionist and democratic state, discouraging meaningful service in the Israel Defense Forces, or acting to harm or humiliate IDF soldiers during or after their service.” The letter did not mention B’Tselem by name.
B’Tselem last week said that while Palestinians live under different forms of Israeli control in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and within Israel itself, they have fewer rights than Jews in the entire area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. “One of the key points in our analysis is that this is a single geopolitical area ruled by one government,” said El-Ad. “This is not democracy plus occupation. This is apartheid between the river and the sea.”