The mayor of the Israeli city of Ashkelon has banned the employment of Arabs for construction work at kindergartens, according to a report from Press TV:
Itamar Shimoni claimed on Wednesday that he issued the order when he came under pressure from “worried parents.”
He added that he would freeze special construction work to keep Arab workers away from schools in the southern city.
Security forces also have been stationed at kindergartens near construction sites.
The decision sparked outrage in the occupied territories, with Ahmed Tibi, an Arab lawmaker at Knesset, condemning it as a racist move.
“Security considerations are used, as usual, as a fig leaf for racism,” he said.
Other lawmakers, including from Meretz Party, also called on Interior Minister Gilad Erdan to put pressure on the mayor to overturn the ban.
Erdan described the mayor’s decision as “wrong.”
“We must not tarnish whole communities, even at this hour,” he told Israeli radio.
The move is illegal according to the Employment (Equal Opportunities) Law, which prohibits employers from discriminating between employees on the basis of race or religion, among others.
More than 20 percent of Israel’s population of 8 million are Palestinian Arabs.