The head of Israel's National Democratic Alliance has called for the regional director of the Education Ministry's northern branch to be sacked after she banned the use of Arabic in official correspondence. Jamal Zahalka MK filed his request with the Knesset Parliamentary Committee for Education for Dr Orna Simhon to be removed from her post.
"If this news is confirmed," said Zahalka, "Orna Simhon should be replaced for violating the status of the Arabic language within the ministry." The absence of a firm response would give the green light for future abuses, he insisted.
According to Haaretz newspaper, Simhon's instructions were made on Thursday after the Arab language coordinator and computerisation coordinator for the ministry's Arab education office had sent messages to all fifth- and sixth-grade teachers in Arab schools about incorporating the use of computers into lesson plans. Apparently Simhon was copied in on the email and responded by saying that all documents should be written in Hebrew only.