A number of anti-Israel social media accounts and websites have posted about the 85-year-old Palestinian Arab grandmother who has just graduated from university and earned a BA in Islamic studies. They carefully mention how the “Nakba” interrupted her studies, but she persevered and made her dreams come true.
But here’s the thing. She obtained this diploma at a university in Israel.
This week, the 85-year-old from al-Mujaydil in Palestine graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Kafr Bara’s University of Islamic Studies.
In other words, Israeli Arabs like Jihad Battu have great educational opportunities in the so-called “apartheid” state of Israel. In fact, Kafr Bara is one of the best examples of how Israel, despite missteps over the years, is trying to invest more in Arab cities.
In general, Arab-Israelis consider this place the Arab equivalent of Savyon, an upscale and expensive city with Jewish residents near Israel’s international airport.
Another fruit of the innovative and open-minded leadership, further reflecting the openness of the community, is a new “innovative” middle and high school currently being planned by the local leadership, together with the Ministry of Education. This innovative connection is just one of two such initiatives funded by the Israeli government in Arab towns/villages across the country, despite the fact that Kfar Bara is such a small town.
Finally, the municipality together with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, promotes the creation of another important sustainable source of income, an industrial park, which will diversify employment for local and local residents and also boost the municipality’s income through business taxes. Adjacent to this park, a waste processing and recycling plant has been established by the municipality, despite endless political struggles and adversity from the local population. Over time, the mayor’s vision of providing sustainable environmental solutions, which can also generate revenue for the local government, eventually won its opponents in this area.
In other words, the inspiring story of Jihad Battu is also an example of how Israel is not exactly what the people who usually spread her story claim.