Friday’s Jerusalem Marathon is expected to cause major traffic jams, prompting transportation for special education institutions in the city to cancel their Friday routes. The move has angered parents of affected students, who do not understand why their children are being wronged.
"Why does the Jerusalem municipality burden those who are not running (in the marathon)?," posed a mother of two children with special needs, one of them in the city. "We cannot take her ourselves, and she is the one who will suffer."
Parents turned to MK Karin Elharar (Yesh Atid), who is herself wheelchair-bound, and said that some special education schools have even canceled their entire school day. According to them, the issue is one that repeats itself every year despite the commitment of the municipal representatives in previous years to resolve the issue.
The parents stressed that there are special appointments conducted only on Fridays, and with Purim next week, their children will go for two weeks without treatment.
“The inequality is blatant. Special education students are being harmed while regular education proceeds as usual,” complained another parent. “This means I'll have to take a day off from work to stay at home with my daughter. In her eyes, it’s a punishment because she will not receive the much needed support she gets in school and from other children like her."
MK Elharar on Wednesday approached Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat on the subject: "It is inconceivable that children with disabilities and their parents will pay such a price because of a cultural event in the city. This issue should be duly addressed and adequately resolved," wrote Elharar in a letter sent to Barkat.
The Jerusalem Municipality said in response: "Because of street closures and alternative traffic arrangements planned for the day of the marathon, it becomes greatly difficult to operate the normal urban routes which transport students back and forth from their educational institutions."
“It should be noted that this is only one day out of the year and this huge international event, which is attended by about 30,000 people from around the world, holds enormous importance to Jerusalem and its economy especially during current times," concluded the municipality statement.