Palestinian activists and parents in East Jerusalem are once again outraged, this time because students at the al-Ofek school in the Beit Hanina neighborhood were filmed dancing to the Israeli song "Tefila."
A video of the girls' performance in a schoolyard leaked to social media, drawing furious reactions. Palestinian activists and parents in East Jerusalem strongly criticized the school administration and protested that a Hebrew-language song was playing in the background of the girls' performance.
سخط ورفض واسع لإقدام إدارة مدرسة الأفق في بلدة بيت حنينا بالقدس المحتلة على عزف أغنية عبرية بحضور الطالبات.#قدس_بلس pic.twitter.com/KTO5YXa6tZ
— قدس بلس (@PlusQuds) May 29, 2023
According to one father, when he complained to the school staff about playing an Israeli song inside the educational institution, he responded: "If you don't like it, close your ears or take your daughter out of school."
Ziad Shamla, chairman of the parents committee in East Jerusalem, said, "I informed the principal that we are not opposed to teaching Hebrew in our schools like other foreign languages, but we oppose the use of Hebrew in dance performances, as happened."
East Jerusalem political activist Rassem Obeidat condemned the musical performance, calling it "normalization activity with Israel." According to him, the incident came as part of Israel's attempts to "steal" the students' awareness and as part of an effort to control the education system.
The new controversy came days after a riot at the Rosary Christian School for Girls in East Jerusalem when an Israeli flag was raised during a graduation party performance. Parents interrupted the play and demanded that the principal of the school resign from her position. She tried to explain that the raising of the Israeli flag was part of a play designed to illustrate conflicts between countries in conflict with other countries, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but her efforts were to no avail and she was eventually forced to make a "profound apology" to her parents.
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