To continue the community process around education in Tsur Baher, we had today a special meeting in the village. All relevant stakeholders were present – school principals, Ministry of Education inspectors and Municipality officials including the head of the Municipality Education Department and Pepe Alalo, Jerusalem Mayor Deputy who is responsible for Education in east Jerusalem. Mr. Alalo, who was elected in November, came to learn about the process and its potential outcomes. Also in attendance were formal representatives of Tsur baher village, and representatives of the JICC and the Jerusalem Foundation.
To be honest, we were disappointed with the meeting. We felt that even though many promises were made by the municipality last December, not much has been done since then. The excuses of some of the municipality and government officials made the impression that the commitment to make a sincere change in Tzur Baher is lacking. We all understood that the head of the municipality education department must make a considerable effort in order to recruit his staff into the process. Otherwise, our more than a year old pilot project will lead us nowhere.
It is our role at the JICC to facilitate such community dialogue processes. Regression is to be expected at some points during such initiatives. It is our duty to help the sides see when is the process at risk, and we did just that at the meeting, ensuring that meetings will be conducted in the coming days to find out how can we put this important process back to track.