Israeli principal sparks outrage for forwarding offensive video

March 25, 2010

An Israeli principal, who once forwarded an anti-Islam video clip, has sparked outrage for sending inciting anti-Arab material.

Teachers at Kiryat Sharet High School said that they were shocked by the racist insinuations of a video clip they received by e-mail from the school principal showing an Arab toddler being thrown into a swimming pool and nearly drowning.

“A principal is supposed to be an educator,” said a teacher who received the e-mail a few days ago from Principal Irit Aharonson. “It is inconceivable she should be spreading such racist, inciting material without any monitoring,” the teacher was quoted as saying by Haaretz.

The clip, called “How Arab Kids Learn to Swim,” shows a man wearing traditional Arab clothes and speaking in Arabic pushing a two-year-old boy into a pool. Another adult grabs the terrified toddler’s hand, takes him out of the pool and then throws him back in. The child kicks uselessly and nearly drowns, and is taken out of the pool about a minute later.

According to the education ministry, the distribution of the clip was “a grave error of judgment.”

“We expect educators to promote tolerance, not send out harmful and disdainful materials,” the ministry said. “It is a disgrace that a principal should be forwarding such videos. We just learned recently how widespread anti-Arab racism is among young people. How can we complain about students when a principal is promoting the same?”

In a survey released two weeks ago, 50 percent of Jewish teenagers said they believed Arab citizens should not have rights equal with Jews.

Aharonson claimed that she sent the video “in a distracted state” and called the decision a “regrettable mistake.” However, teachers said Aharonson had previously sent out a video clip called “What the Media Doesn’t Show about Islam,” that contains graphic images of atrocities attributed to Muslims. Aharonson said she did not recall sending out that clip, the paper said.


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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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