Ir Amim, together with other organizations, uses legal advocacy and other means to address the crisis in public education in East Jerusalem. Since the year 2000, Ir Amim, along with other petitioners, has filed three petitions on the issue of public education in East Jerusalem to the High Court of Justice.
Almost a decade ago, in 2001, the Israeli High Court ruled that the Municipality of Jerusalem had to build 245 classrooms in order to resolve the classroom shortage at the time. In 2005, in a case brought by Ir Amim, the High Court found the Jerusalem Municipality in contempt of court, having not build the required classrooms. The Jerusalem Municipality and the Minisitry of Education promised the court that it would allocate 400 million NIS over five years for building 645 classrooms (including the 245 classrooms from the 2001 ruling) by the year 2011.
Despite this promise, the construction of classrooms has proceeded very slowly. Since 2001, only 257 classrooms have been built in East Jerusalem, and by the end of 2010, another 39 classrooms are expected to be completed, while an additional 42 classrooms are being planned for 2011. It is anticipated that by the end of 2011, only
338 classrooms will have been built, or 52% of the classrooms the authorities promised to build.
Since 2006, Ir Amim, in coordination with other organziations, has initiated public actions and media campaigns at the beginning of the school year, intended to raise public awareness of the classroom shortage, and to pressure authorities in the municipality, the Knesset, and government ministries to provide solutions.
In 2009, prior to the start of the school year, Ir Amim together with ACRI, wrote and distributed information about the rights of Palestinian children to enroll in Jerusalem's municipal schools and the registration process. Ir Amim managed a hotline for parents who encountered difficulties in registration or enrollment. The families of 200 children appealed to the hotline, and 85 were able to register for school as a result of advice given and legal advocacy conducted on their behalf. In 2010, al-Maqdisi, a Palestinian NGO, assumed responsibility for this hotline.
To date, Ir Amim continues to monitor the court ordered classroom construction and since 2005 has issued an annual report on the situation of education in East Jerusalem.