Fadi Abu Shahidam, 42, the Hamas terrorist who on Sunday shot and murdered Eliyahu Kay, a young oleh from South Africa, was identified by Minister of Internal Security Omer Barlev as a member of the Hamas political faction (whatever that means) and a regular presence on the Temple Mount, where he preached at the Al Aqsa mosque and led tours of the compound. Now it turns out that he also taught at the Al-Rashidiya Secondary School for Boys in the Muslim Quarter, where his salary was paid by the Jerusalem municipality.
The school is run by the Israeli Ministry of Education with a Jordanian curriculum. Abu Shahidam’s position was as a teacher of Islamic studies. The Jerusalem Municipality has not yet responded to the revelation, and the Ministry of Education has issued a statement saying the matter is still under investigation by the security forces and the ministry would issue an official response after the investigation is concluded.
Al-Rashidiya is a public school, with three main buildings that include 20 classrooms, a library, a lab, and a soccer field, is located next to Herod’s Gate (Flowers Gate), adjacent to the Rockefeller Museum. Al-Rashidiya has served as the main learning establishment for the residents of eastern Jerusalem since the late Ottoman era. Today, the school serves approximately 400 students with a staff of 25.
Following the Six-Day War, in June 1967, the Israeli government applied Israeli law to the newly annexed eastern Jerusalem, which compelled all government schools to teach the Israeli program for the Arab sector, including Hebrew language studies and Hebrew literature. Graduates took the Israeli matriculation exams instead of the Jordanian exams and were consequently rejected by universities in Arab countries. As a result, most of the students moved to private and church-run schools, where the studies were still conducted according to the Jordanian Ministry of Education’s program. At the start of September 1968, Al-Rashidiya had only 12 students, compared to 687 the year before.
Between 1970 and 1976, both the Jerusalem municipality and the Israeli Education Ministry attempted a variety of approaches to restore Al-Rashidiya to its former status, allowing the school to add extra hours to the Israeli program to prepare students for the Jordanian matriculation. None of those approaches succeeded, and so, in 1976, Israel gave in and permitted all Arab schools in eastern Jerusalem, including Al-Rashidiya, to return fully to the Jordanian program, with a few weekly hours devoted to learning Hebrew and Israeli social studies.
One cannot fail to see the correlation of the defeatist attitude of the Israeli education system in eastern Jerusalem in the past 45 years and the fact that a state-run and funded school in eastern Jerusalem employed a known Hamas member – and who knows how many more.
Hamas issued a statement on Sunday, saying: “The perpetrator of the attack is Fadi Abu Shahidam, one of the leaders of Hamas in Shuafat in East Jerusalem. Our martyr in Jerusalem passed his life preaching for jihad, and all the parts of the city and the sides of the al-Aqsa mosque attest to it. Now here he is, rising today after the heroic battle he fought against the occupation forces, inflicting death and injuries.”
The cowardly attack outside the Temple Mount lasted 32 seconds and left one civilian dead, two civilians seriously and moderately injured, and two Border Police officers wounded in light condition.
Deputy Jerusalem Mayor Aryeh King said on Sunday: “As deputy mayor, I am not surprised by the fact that the terrorist, may his memory be erased, worked as a teacher at a school funded by the Ministry of Education and the municipality. For years, I have been calling on mayors and education ministers to monitor the content taught in the schools that are funded by the government and the municipality. Unfortunately, despite being deputy mayor, time and time again, Council Member Yonatan Yosef and I find ourselves in the minority on this issue. It is our duty to monitor the content that’s being taught to the city’s students because the supervision of the Ministry of Education cannot be trusted.”