Protesters gather outside Ethiopian school

Sept. 1, 2011 at 11:09 AM

PETAH TIKVA, Israel, Sept. 1 (UPI) -- About 300 Israelis of Ethiopian descent protested segregation outside Nir Etzion, a school attended almost entirely by Ethiopian children.

The school, considered an "Ethiopian ghetto," was supposed to be closed and its students integrated into other schools, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni spoke to protesters at the school in Petah Tikva on Thursday morning.

"Your struggle is not only the struggle of Ethiopians; it is the struggle for all of us in Israel. They tell you everything will be fine," Livni said, "and that it will take time. For these kids ... we cannot wait around."

Chairman of the Knesset Education Committee Alex Miller, who passed a law prohibiting discrimination against students, said that an emergency meeting in response to the protest would address the fate of Nir Etzion.

"'Ethiopian only' schools are a disgusting and condemnable phenomenon that stain the entire education system", he said, "There is no place in the state of Israel for concentration camps for Ethiopians."

He continued, "a series of problematic cases require us to organize an immediate and urgent check of the entire education system in Petah Tikva."

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