My daughters are enrolled in the public education system, just as I was at their age. There are a few reasons for this, and they aren’t just financial: We, their parents, believe in education equality, the need to strengthen the public system (even if it isn’t always easy), the promotion of equal opportunity, and we reject segregation.
This week, the Tel Aviv Administrative Court rejected a petition filed by parents from the Nature School, who demanded continued school admission exams for five-year-old children. We at ACRI, along with two NGOs – Hila and HaPardes (Ruach Tova) – joined as Friends of the Court (amici curiae) to support the Education Ministry’s policy of banning admissions tests. We explained why public schools that condition enrollment on admissions tests and fees serve as an obstacle to underprivileged populations. The Court supported our position.
The Friends of the Court tool enables us to join ongoing deliberations and present the Court with a broader perspective concerning human rights, beyond the specific case being heard.
Regarding the admissions tests, we spoke for the hundreds and thousands of boys and girls, hindered by the admissions process, who feel ashamed because they were rejected. Some of those students live across the street from the Nature School and can see it, but can’t enter the school grounds.
This week, using the Friends of the Court tool resulted in another success. We joined as Friends, along with Kav LaOved – Worker’s Hotline, in a case pertaining to a biometric card reader. The National Labor Court ruled that forcing Qalansawe Municipality workers to use their fingerprint to sign in to a biometric card reader infringes on their privacy and the right to autonomy over their bodies. The Municipality was ordered to stop using the biometric card reader within thirty days and delete all biometric data that had been collected from its workers.
In this instance we also sought to represent the underprivileged population – workers who must comply with an infringement of their rights due to the power imbalance with their employers, as well as potential pressure and threats. I hope that employers who infringe on their workers’ privacy, as well as the schools seeking admission tests for students, understand the messages that emanated from these court rulings.
Our legal department relies on this important tool to give voice to ACRI’s unique perspective on human rights issues. To support ACRI’s legal work and allow us to continue to amplify and uplift human rights in Israel, click here.
Adv. Sharon Abraham-Weiss
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel