Emmanuel’s Sephardi students demands clarity, timeliness

Attorney sends letter to Education Ministry on behalf of parents, non-profits.

July 29, 2010 03:00
2 minute read.
Children from Emmanuel cry as their father is sent

emmanuel kids 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Attorney Dr. Aviad Hacohen on Tuesday sent an urgent letter to the Education Ministry, demanding that they enforce ministerial regulations ensuring both transparency in the process of accepting or rejecting applicants to haredi high schools for girls (seminarim), and timeliness in informing parents of the decisions.

Writing on behalf of group of parents and non-profit organizations, including Yoav Laloum’s Noar Kahalacha, Hacohen beseeched Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar and Education Ministry Director-General Dr. Shimshon Shoshani to immediately rectify the situation in which many girls remain in limbo, having yet to receive an indication on whether they have been accepted to a seminar.

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Such haredi institutions are recognized and funded by the State, and hence under the ministry’s jurisdiction.

Hacohen pointed out that in many cases, dozens of such girls discover that they have not been accepted to a seminar on the first day of the school year, and are left without a real option of finding an alternative framework, or appealing the school’s decision.

Among other complaints, Hacohen, the attorney who represented Laloum in the recent Emmanuel case, notes that in the past, United Torah Judaism spiritual leader Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv ordered that the rate of Sephardi girls in the seminars should be at least 30 percent. In practice, Hacohen writes, that quota has become the maximum.

Following a 2006 petition against the vague and problematic admission criteria in the seminars, the High Court of Justice ruled that the Education Ministry and Jerusalem Municipality, where the problem is particularly acute, must develop a supervisory plan, that will be effective, transparent and timely, to take care of any admission practices that might be illegal or discriminatory.

Hacohen maintains that despite the court’s clear instructions, “not much was done to that end,” stressing that the Education Ministry’s ensuing regulations from that year are allegedly being ignored.

“The seminars’ recurring disregard of the Education Ministry’s guidelines seems like ongoing disdain of the court’s decision and the ministerial instructions, and might be tantamount to severe harm to the rule of law and contempt of the court,” Hacohen wrote.

It was contempt of the court that had brought to the shorttermed incarceration of 35 fathers from Emmanuel, who refused to return their daughters to the Beit Ya’acov school there after barriers in the institution were removed at the court’s order.

To enable the perplexed parents an informed course of action, Hacohen demanded of the ministry to use its authority and order all seminars to make known which girl has been accepted and which not, by the end of the week.

Hacohen also asked the ministry to inform him as to the implementation of its 2006 regulations regarding the issue, and make public the guidelines regarding the acceptance process, if they indeed exist.

The Education Ministry had yet to respond to Hacohen’s letter by press ti

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