'Atarot, Wed 1.4.09, Afternoon

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  Ruth O. and Ilana D. (reporting)

From 1:45 till 2:45

Atarot: Vocational High School

We had promised the acting principal of the vocational School in Atarot, Mr. Wasmi Tamimi, a visit last week, which we had had to cancel. Since we felt sorry we had had to disappoint him we decided to make a pecial trip, despite the fact that our actual shift was to the South, which was therefore delayed for about an hour.

The guard told us with a big smile that the Headmaster was awaiting us and on the way two teachers who are experts in Computers and Electronics addressed us in German. Mr. Wasmi Tamimi still has not been officially appointed as the Director, but he was pleased to tell us that he felt much better than last year and has had some success.

He has sent some of his staff to inform other schools in East Jerusalem about the existence of his school and stressed the fact that having a trade might be a much better option for the future than a matriculation, which offers usually no better employment than cleaning, etc. the number of students has since doubled. His school prepares the students also for the Jordanian matriculation and since he has been in contact with the Ministry of Labor and Trade he has obtained better services for his students in apprenticeships within Israel. He told us that he finds the Israeli schools lack discipline and quoted some examples of a school in Sur Bakher.

When we asked him whether the gate in the wall under the school next to the Border Police base is now open for the students, he told us that he had actually been in contact with Guy Ehrlich who had explained to him that there is now a bus line from the Qalandia terminal to Atarot, which the students can use. He stated that the schedule was extremely irregular, sometimes there is one bus every hour and sometimes there are three buses one after the other. We told him that in West Jerusalem the situation is not much better. He thought it might be wiser not to ask the Border Police to open the gate, since this might cause friction between the soldiers and the students which should be avoided as much as possible. Altogether Mr. Tamimi was pleased that the Security Services had not bothered him since the beginning of the school year. He lives with his family and the families of two other teachers on the premises, which is a little frightening during the weekends, since all is dark and the closest neighbors live one the other side of the fence of the school. On Wednesday afternoon all the boarding students leave for their homes and return only on Saturday-morning. Since it was Wednesday-afternoon he could not show us the classrooms in action and asked us to come back on a regular school day.