Corporal Punishment Of Children: Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa Index - Israel

Israel should ensure that the ban on all corporal punishment is applied equally and effectively to all children, including in Palestinian and Ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities.

The Supreme Court outlawed corporal punishment at schools in a 1994 ruling, holding that "corporal punishment cannot constitute a legitimate tool in the hands of teachers or other educators."[1] The Students’ Rights Law of 2000 states: "It is the right of every pupil … not to be subjected to corporal or degrading disciplinary measures."[2] Principals are required to report in writing any violence between an educator and a student under the Compulsory Education (Physical Violence Reporting Rules) Regulations 5770-2009.

Some studies have found that students who are Palestinian citizens of Israel experience higher rates of violence at schools than do Jewish students.[3] The Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children stated in 2019 that in East Jerusalem, "a poor level of enforcement and discriminatory application of the law to Palestinian children has been documented."[4] Enforcement of the ban on violent discipline at schools may also be lacking in the school system for Jewish Ultra-Orthodox students. "We won’t open an investigation into an ultra-Orthodox teacher who slaps a student … because [such corporal punishment is] customary at school," the Israeli Police Commissioner said in 2018, according to a news magazine interview.[5]

[1] References from "Written replies of Israel," Committee on the Rights of the Child, CRC/C/ISR/Q/2-4/Add.1, May 22, 2013, para. 73-77, https://unispal.un.org/dpa/dpr/unispal.nsf/5ba47a5c6cef541b802563e000493b8c/abeb678de515c5b885257b81005fbfb4?OpenDocument, and see the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, "Israel," January 2000.

[2] Studies cited in Yossi Shavit, Carmel Blank, "School Discipline and Achievement in Israel," November 10, 2009, Tel Aviv University, http://yossishavit.tau.ac.il/editor/File/School%20Discipline%20in%20Israel-7.pdf (accessed July 21, 2019).

[3] Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CRC/Shared%20Documents/PSE/INT_CRC_NGO_PSE_34370_E.docx

[4] Josh Breiner, "We Won't Open an Investigation Into Every ultra-Orthodox Teacher Who Slaps a Student, Israeli Police Chief Says," Haaretz, March 29, 2018, https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/police-won-t-probe-every-ultra-orthodox-teacher-who-slaps-a-student-1.5957753 (accessed July 21, 2019).

[5] Josh Breiner, "We Won't Open an Investigation Into Every ultra-Orthodox Teacher Who Slaps a Student, Israeli Police Chief Says," Haaretz, March 29, 2018, https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/police-won-t-probe-every-ultra-orthodox-teacher-who-slaps-a-student-1.5957753 (accessed July 21, 2019).

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