The Education Ministry on Thursday suspended the principal of a state-funded Arab school in East Jerusalem after he appeared — together with a teacher from another school, a Palestinian soccer coach and members of his team — in a photo holding up a banner lauding Mesbah Abu Sabih, the East Jerusalem terrorist who killed two Israelis in a shooting spree earlier this month.
Those in the photo, including members of the Hilal al-Quds soccer team, can be seen smiling on the field at their home ground — the Faisal Al-Husseini International Stadium in the West Bank’s al-Ram — while holding up a banner featuring Abu Sabih, the 39-year-old Silwan resident, and former resident of al-Ram, with the words: “The Hilal al-Quds soccer club mourns the loss of the lion of al-Aqsa [Jerusalem], the martyr and hero Mesbah Abu Sabih.”
The suspended principal was from the junior high school in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya. The other educator was a physical education teacher from a junior high school in Silwan. Both were summoned by Education Minister Naftali Bennett for a hearing, after which the principal was suspended over what was defined as a suspected disciplinary offense.
On Thursday, the principal was questioned by police as well.
“Anyone who incites against the State of Israel will not work in education,” read a ministry statement.
The coach of the Hilal al-Quds soccer team seen with the banner was arrested on Sunday and charged with incitement to terror.
Members of the team, which plays in the West Bank Premier League, posted the photo to its Facebook page on Tuesday, two days after the shooting attack.