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De Blasio to meet with Jewish, Arab students on Israel trip

Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at a public

Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at a public hearing on Oct. 7, 2015 at New York City Hall. Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang

Mayor Bill de Blasio will meet with Arab and Jewish students from a multicultural school during his visit later this week to Israel, his office said Wednesday.

The Jerusalem school, run by Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel, was the target of an arson attack in November. It has integrated classrooms, bilingual instruction and a multicultural curriculum, according to the mayor's office.

The students include Israeli Arabs and Palestinians from Muslim and Christian families. The event is to take place Saturday at an olive grove and vineyard in Israel, the mayor's office said.

De Blasio had considered a visit to a school in Ramallah, but his security team decided against a trip to the West Bank, his spokeswoman Karen Hinton said. There has been a surge in Palestinian attacks in recent weeks.

Another spokeswoman, Amy Spitalnick, said in a statement of de Blasio's planned visit: "Building inclusivity and tolerance between all of the region's people is critical to achieving peace -- and there's no better place to start than with kids, through programs like Hand in Hand."

De Blasio is to leave Thursday night for Israel and stay through Sunday. He also plans to visit the Western Wall, meet with Israeli officials and deliver a speech on anti-Semitism at a conference of mayors.


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