As the Palestine solidarity movement presses for an 'anti-apartheid' style campaign it is worth remembering that discrimination in education played a major part in engaging the public in the struggle. At the time the enormity of the gap between the money spent on pupils in black and white schools outraged many.
A report, Failed Grade, by the Association of Civil Rights in Israel and Ir Amim LINK found that almost half of Palestinian children in East Jerusalem have to attend private or unofficial schools because of a lack of facilities. It states that East Jerusalem school's are estimated to be short of about 1,000 classrooms: "The result is that...the families of thousands of Palestinian children will have to pay large sums of money to get the education they should have been getting free."
According to the Guardian in May 2001 the Israel High Court ruled that the education ministry and the miniciplaity of Jerusalem were obliged to pprovide education for every Palestinian child in the city. Despite repeated legal petitions the problem has not been confronted and Knesset representative Jamal Zahalka says that East Jeruslaem provision is worse than anywhere in the Palestinian territories, including Gaza. The result is low academic achievement and a high drop-out rate: 50% for Palestinians in East Jerusalem and 11.8% for Jewish pupils.
As with South Africa in the apartheid era, the figures reveal the inequality. East Jerusalem's education budget in 2008-9 showed an average of 2,372 shekels was spent on each pupil in Jewish elementary schools compared with 577 shekels on each Arab pupil.