Arson Attack at Hand in Hand School

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Saturday evening, November 29, the Max Rayne Hand in Hand School for Bilingual Education experienced vandalism like they’d never experienced before. The school’s two first grade classrooms were set on fire, one with extensive damage, in addition to the anti-Arab graffiti that was sprayed around the school. We are saddened and troubled by the destruction and violence that has reared its ugly head. In the words of the school’s principals, “People are shocked and scared, but are also standing firm.” Dr. Ehud (Udi) Spiegel, Director of Education Projects for the Jerusalem Foundation, was at the school soon after the incident was reported, helping staff and administration.

 

The response across the board has been unequivocally in support of the school and its vision, condemning the attack. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, as well as a number of municipal and government officials and professionals – have toured the school since Saturday evening and offered their support and assistance where possible. Individuals have reached out to the school from around Jerusalem, the country and even internationally.

 

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Just a few weeks ago we wrote about a graffiti attack that took place at the school, and the undeterred response of the school's students, teachers and entire community in the face of these recurring attacks. The school, one of the Jerusalem Foundation’s flagship projects, has a population of 613 Jewish and Arab children, from pre-kindergarten through to 12th grade, who study together in both Hebrew and Arabic.

 

On Sunday morning, as students began their regular school week (the school held classes as scheduled, with alternative classrooms found for the first grades), the teachers and parents gathered in the School’s Liechtenstein Library with Mayor Nir Barkat, Education Minister, Shai Piron and Danny Mimran, Director General of the Jerusalem Foundation. Hundreds of people gathered outside the campus to show their support for the school. In addition to the public figures who gathered to speak out against racism and violence, including MKs, city council members and one of Jerusalem's deputy mayors, equally important was the outpouring of support from the diverse populations who assembled outside the school's doors. These included members of the local community and teachers and students from neighboring high schools. All came together with a resolute message against violence and racism.

 

The Jerusalem Foundation is committed to the work of the School and has been advancing a plan for expansion of a new building to house the growing high school.  The Max Rayne Hand in Hand School is a member of the Jerusalem Foundation shared living forum and the continuing efforts of the Foundation and our partners to combat acts of violence and incitement are more important than ever and your help can make a difference.


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Update on the Hand and Hand Arson Attack

 

Following the vandalism and arson attack at the Max Rayne Hand in Hand School on November 29th workers and volunteers worked through the night and on Monday morning the first graders were able to return to their classrooms.  There is no better response to incitement and violence, then to continue our lives and get back to a normal routine.  The children will decorate the rooms together with their teachers and other students at the school.

 

The Jerusalem Foundation has been building new classrooms at the school that are nearing completion and will help to ease school crowding in advance of the construction of the new high school building which is scheduled to go forward next year.

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