A YEAR 10 Bialik College student was identified as a “person under suspicion” by Israeli police following an allegation by an Emanuel School student on Wednesday.
A court hearing was expected on Sunday, but the police had not completed their investigation. Late Sunday the police handed the case to Israeli prosecutors, who are expected to make a decision soon.
The 70+ Bialik students in Israel were participating in different activities at the time of the alleged incident, which took place at Alexander Muss High School in Hod HaSharon.
A number of Australian schools were staying at the school.
Bialik principal Jeremy Stowe-Lindner spoke to all year 10 students on Friday, emailed all Bialik parents and then flew to Israel.
“Bialik was recently made aware of a serious breach of the rules and expectations surrounding one student attending Bialik’s Chavayah program (a Year 10 program whereby all students travel to China and Israel for an immersive 6 week experience),” he said in an email to parents.
“As a consequence of this isolated incident in Israel, the Bialik student involved has been removed from the program.
“Students remain safe and supported and continue to enjoy a wonderfully rich international experience. Bialik students and their parents have been briefed with information as appropriate.”
The AJN understands Stowe-Lindner and Emanuel principal Andrew Watt have been in communication with each other to prioritise the welfare of students.
The decision was made that students not directly involved from both schools remain on the same campus in Israel, and The AJN understands they attended the same Chanukah event on Sunday night.
Stowe-Lindner was hesitant to comment when contacted by The AJN, but he did confirm that the program is proceeding.
“We have two counsellors, one male and one female, that we are offering all students,” he said.
“We’re trying to help the students whilst also focusing them on an incredible Israel experience.
“This is a terribly sad situation and I understand the concern, worry and desire for everyone to know more, and for us to say more, but the legal process has to follow its course.”
The Emanuel School principal wrote to parents on Sunday stating the incident had happened and that the school was assisting the student involved.
The letter stated that deputy principal Margaret Lowe “has recently joined the program, to provide on-ground support for our teachers and students”.
Watt told The AJN that “students and staff in Israel have been well supported” but declined to comment further.
The AJN became aware of this incident on Friday, and immediately reached out to the principals of Bialik College and Emanuel School. It was communicated to The AJN that the alleged victim would not like this case to be covered by the media.
After the request, and noting that this case involves two minors, The AJN made a decision not to publish a story online until after the court hearing on Sunday in Israel when further facts were released. Over the weekend, the incident was first raised on social media on Saturday night, and then by two large Australian media organisation on Sunday.
When the court hearing was delayed for two days, and to clarify some of the incorrect facts and rumours spreading online, The AJN felt it was necessary to publish this story.