Letter to the Editor

BY

Dear Editor:

Arsalan Suleman describes my quotation of South African Ambassador to Israel Fumanekile Gqiba as “false and misleading.” I stand by my quotation. I also happen to have had the pleasure of meeting Ambassador Gqiba personally in Tel Aviv, so I have some idea of what his views are. He has promised to e-mail me this week, though, to clear up any confusion, so if there’s anything new to report I’ll make sure the word gets out.

Mr. Suleman makes a number of other curious assertions in his article, such as the claim that public funding for Jewish and Arab schools in Israel is “grossly unequal.”

The facts were recently laid out by Benjamin Pogrund in the UK Guardian:

“Every government school [in Israel], whether Jewish or Arab, gets identical funding; differences, and hence resources, arise through what parents pay and what local authorities pay (most local authorities in Israel are in poor financial shape; Arab local authorities are even worse off with problems in collecting local property taxes). The Jewish schools are Jewish day schools. The Arab schools are Muslim and use Arabic, which is an official language in Israel. There is no bar to Arabs attending Jewish schools, and some do.”

I could go on, but I suspect readers have lost interest in this exchange by now. However, if anyone wants to learn to pronounce “Gqiba,” please feel free to ask me.

Joel Pollak

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