I saw an interesting article on the Huffington Post over the weekend that Superland Amusement Park in Israel is being accused of segregating Jewish students and Arab students.
The article reports that Superland designated separate visiting times for Arab school children and Jewish school children. Superland denies any discriminatory intent but does acknowledge that it conceded to certain schools’ requests to have separate year end festivities at the park.
When I was in high school in Ohio we had Senior Day at Kings Island Amusement Park. It was a fun time as they basically closed the park down to several area high schools. When I first read the article, I assumed that was what happened and that maybe this was as simple as a misunderstanding that the schools happened to be scheduled on separate days.
As I did a little more digging, this article from Israel National News shed a lot of light on the complaint. That article, which is more detailed than the Huffington Post article, reports that the Arab school was specifically told that it could not schedule its year end festivities on a particular day because that was a day designated for Jewish schools. Superland issued a statement, again denying malice, but acknowledging that it had granted certain schools’ requests that they hold separate days for Arab schools and Jewish schools, allegedly to avoid potential violence.
Needless to say this “that is what the customer wants” would never fly as a defense to discrimination in the U.S. We’ll see how that pans out in Israel as the Knesset Education Committee is having a special hearing today to investigate the discrimination charge.