'Ovadia Yosef backs placing girls in haredi schools'

MK Nahari (Shas) also hints at revamp of system for accepting girls to Ashkenazi institutions.

July 14, 2011 03:10
2 minute read.
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Senior Sephardi adjudicator and Shas’s spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is supporting the newly formed Education Ministry committees to find high schools for haredi girls, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Meshulam Nahari (Shas) said on Wednesday, but hinted that a solution from within the schools could render the new bodies unnecessary.

Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar (Likud) met with Yosef at the elderly rabbi’s home on Wednesday morning one day after the ministry’s director-general ordered the formation of rabbinic committees in the cities in which some four hundred haredi girls, primarily of Sephardi descent, have yet to find a high school that will accept them for the upcoming school year.

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Sa’ar briefed the rabbi on the committees, which will effectively be surpassing the authority of the principals of the Ashkenazi haredi girls’ high schools, who have been recently slammed by the State Comptroller for the lack of clear procedures in accepting or rejecting candidates.

Coupled with the fact that, unlike other public schools, it is the principals themselves and not the municipality who make the decisions on who to accept, this situation paves the way for racial discrimination against Sephardi girls, the report said.

“The rabbi feels the pain of the hundreds of families whose girls who do not have a school yet,” said Nahari, who alongside Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) attended the meeting. But “if the principals of the girls’ high schools will succeed in absorbing the girls, these committees will become superfluous,” he noted.

These committees, which include members of the educational systems in the cities Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, Beitar Ilit and Modi’in Ilit, were given the deadline of July 28 to find schools for the needy girls.

“You cannot remain indifferent to the girls’ pain, and the risks of a girl beginning the school year with the feeling she is unwanted – there is a good chance it will affect her in the future,” he said. “This is a very sensitive issue – we are dealing with souls here.”

“The rabbi supports Sa’ar on this, and will back any move that could lead to the problem’s resolution,” said Nahari.

The Shas minister also implied that the system of accepting pupils to the Ashkenazi haredi secondary girls’ schools is facing a major revamp.

“We aren’t putting out fires here, rather [we are] aiming for a comprehensive treatment of the system,” he said cryptically.

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