Jerusalem’s “Invisible Palestinian Children”

Data from recent years show a rise in the percentage of Palestinian children of school age whose whereabouts during school hours are simply unknown to authorities. 


Jerusalem Story Team

Education authorities in East Jerusalem are failing to keep track of Palestinian children of compulsory school age in the city. As shown here, the percentage of children who should be in school but whose whereabouts are simply unknown has been rising in recent years. Whether this is simply a failure to track (for example, because the municipality refuses to cooperate in any way with schools run by Palestinian authorities) or more ominously a failure to educate is unclear. Ir Amim reports that about 30 percent of these “invisible” children are aged three to six.1

According to the Israeli Compulsory Education Law (1949), education is compulsory for children aged 5 (kindergarten) to 15 (inclusive of grade 10). The state is responsible for providing education free of charge. Failure to do so is a breach of international law and human rights laws, in addition to a breach of Israeli law. The Pupils’ Rights Law (2000) further confirms that a child has a right to an education and a right to realize his or her rights.2



Ir Amim, “The State of Education in East Jerusalem, 2021–2022: Annual Education Report: September 2022” (Jerusalem: Ir Amim, September 2022), 7.


World Data on Education—Israel,” rev. version, UNESCO, April 2007.

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