Nizar Daaka, the Druze high school principal of the prestigious Jerusalem American International School in Beit Hanina, eastern Jerusalem, was suspended from his post last week after a group of activists calling themselves the “Parents Committee” discovered that he served as an officer with the rank of lieutenant colonel in the IDF, Quds reported last week. The school’s Facebook page posted pictures of Daaka in an IDF uniform, with an accompanying text saying “the executive committee at the school held an emergency meeting and decided to freeze the employment of the high school principal.”
Individuals close to the suspended principal claim that it was an Education Ministry inspector who leaked the information about his IDF service to the activists. “She gave the parents the information about the school principal’s military past, this is unequivocally a nationalistic affair,” they said.
Some at the school claimed that the principal was suspended due to his pedagogical failure. Others pinned it on his being a Druze. But senior officials at the school confirmed that “this principal is a first-class pedagogue. Before him, we had Israeli principals, residents of eastern Jerusalem and Nazareth. There were also principals from England and the US. It’s not the fact that he’s Druze. It’s the army. The school has Druze students. The problem is that he served in the army.”
About a thousand students are enrolled at the American school in Beit Hanina, mainly from the elite of eastern Jerusalem but also from the north of the country and children of officials in international organizations. The home page of the school’s website declares: “The Jerusalem American School is a place that invites and celebrates diversity; a school that embraces the unmatched opportunities for teaching and learning that come with living in one of the world’s great cities; a school that draws on best practice in international education; and a school that is eager to share its stories with the world.”
We checked the “Team” page only to discover it has been cleansed of any mention of the suspended principal. He was also removed from the “About” page. There’s the Director, Mr. Andrew Watson, the elementary school’s principal Mrs. Majd Jasser, and even the kindergarten principal, Mrs. Angelika Khalilieh, but no high school principal.
Because the school’s website also declares: “The Jerusalem American School is distinguished by core characteristics that reflect the values and traditions of the Palestinian people.”
OK, now we get it.