South Africa: Learners Take a Knee During Israeli National Anthem

Photo: Supplied

Herzlia Middle School can be a Jewish school in Cape Town. Photo of entrance to school by Google Street View.

Last Thursday during a ceremony at Herzlia Middle School in Cape Town, two learners knelt in protest during the playing of Hatikvah, the Israeli National Anthem.

The event was a graduation ceremony for grade nine learners. The two grade nine students “took a knee” when the Middle School Vocal Ensemble began to sing Hatikvah. the idea can be quite common for Herzlia events to include the singing of both the South African as well as Israeli national anthems. the idea was also not unusual inside past for students opposed to the school’s Zionist stance to either sit or stay silent during the singing of the Israeli anthem.

Following the ceremony as well as the learners’ protest, an email was sent by the school’s Director of Education Geoff Cohen, to all parents. He wrote of which kneeling during the schools’ “formal as well as prestigious event” was “inappropriate” as well as “demonstrated deliberate as well as flagrant disregard for the ethos of the school”. He described the students’ actions as “blatant flouting of the School Rules, Herzlia’s Zionist values as well as the values of Herzlia’s Menschlichkeit [humanity] pillar”.

Cohen went on to write of which the school does not take issue with “an individual pupil’s right to question or hold an opinion which differs by the mainstream ideologies of the school” nevertheless rather “the time, place as well as manner in which such views were displayed… “.

Herzlia can be taking disciplinary as well as “educational” action against the students. GroundUp asked Cohen to clarify what the “disciplinary as well as educational” actions could be, nevertheless had received no response by time of publishing.

the idea also remains unclear which “school rules” were broken by their actions.

Daniel Linde, a lawyer with Equal Education Law Centre as well as a Herzlia alumnus, told GroundUp of which of which he had “much admiration for the Herzlia pupils who bravely knelt during the the singing of Hatikvah at prize giving.” He said he was “disappointed nevertheless not surprised at the public admonishing of them by the school.”

The names of the learners are known to GroundUp nevertheless we have been unable to reach their parents for comment.

Take a Knee can be a a protest movement started off by American football player, Colin Kaepernick, in 2016 when he knelt during the United States national anthem to protest against police brutality against black people. Kaepernick was not given a contract at any NFL team following his protest as well as has experienced harsh criticism, including president Donald Trump referring to him as well as others of which kneel as a “son of a bitch”.

South Africa: Learners Take a Knee During Israeli National Anthem

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