13 Emmanuel moms exempted from prison

High Court: 9 others can wait till fathers are released.

By JONAH MANDEL
June 22, 2010 15:33
3 minute read.
Haredi protesters in Jerusalem

haredim protest emmanuel 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

The High Court of Justice exempted on Tuesday afternoon 13 of the Emmanuel mothers from the two-week prison term it had ruled upon them, but at the same time upheld its decision regarding nine of the mothers, who will still have to serve the time, but only after their husbands are released.

The names of the mothers in question, who were originally sentenced to prison time beginning Thursday, were being witheld by the court, due to the personal nature of the their requests. Nearly all of the 35 fathers sentenced last Tuesday are currently serving their prison time.

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In its decision, the court noted that its ruling followed the recommendations of the Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein, the National Council for the Child and the welfare services - all of whom recommended against having two parents imprisoned at the same time.

Most of the women in question showed up for the hearing that was held earlier that day and closed to the general public, and seemed encouraged upon exiting the courtroom.

“The court gave us the impression it would take into account the mothers' requests and waive the imprisonment, a stance backed by the professional welfare factors and even the petitioners,” Mordechai Green, the attorney representing the Emmanuel parents, said immediately after the hearing, hours before receiving the ruling.

Yoav Laloum, who along with his Noar Kahalacha NGO filed the petition against the parents for holding the court in contempt by not returning their daughters to the Beit Ya'acov school once the separation walls were removed, had with his attorney Dr. Aviad Hacohen on Friday requested of the court to release the imprisoned fathers and not incarcerate the mothers, since that measure proved inefficient in enforcing the court ruling.

The court also acquiesced to the request of two fathers to postpone their imprisonment, and ruled that they will begin serving their time on July 4. The wife of one of these fathers, Yehuda Fuksman, gave birth to their 12th child on Thursday.

“The court's decision to postpone the mothers' imprisonment reflects the goodwill on all sides, to refrain from punishing the parents and prefer the willful fulfillment of the verdict,” Hacohen said following the ruling. “Noar Kahalacha is distressed over the parents' ongoing refusal that their daughters learn with their erstwhile peers, even for a few days, in a school with a body of regulations set by the Independent Education Center, which acts under the guidance of G'dolei Israel [leading haredi rabbis]. These regulations are accepted by all factors involved – including the Education Ministry, the petitioners and the local authority – except for the parents.”

“At the same time,” Hacohen continued, “Noar Kahalacha calls to form a committee of rabbis, that will act decisively to eradicate all discriminatory phenomena in the haredi education.”


MK Menahem Eliezer Mozes, UTJ faction leader, slammed the court's decision, which is “a trauma to the children” and shows “hardheartedness that has yet to be seen.”

“Throwing mothers to children behind bars because of their religious principles is overdone and disproportionate punishment. Where are the women groups? What happened with the National Council for the Child?,” Mozes charged.

The court will hold another hearing on the whole affair on Sunday, which will debate the ways to deal with the parents ongoing refusal to follow the court's order. The hearing will be closed to the public due to the commotion that broke out in the courtroom after last Tuesday's session, when hassidim broke out in prayer, song and even dance.

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Meanwhile on Tuesday, Prof. Mordechai Ravid, director-general of the Maayanei Hayeshuva Hospital in Bnei Brak, denied reports in Ynet and other media claiming that "his medical staffers believe" a woman from Emmanuel miscarried her fetus overnight Monday because of anxiety after her husband was jailed along with other fathers, for holding the court in contempt.

Ravid said it¹s impossible to know what causes a miscarriage at any stage, including the 13th (out of 40th) week of pregnancy, which was the case of the woman. "Miscarriage can happen as a result of many reasons," he said. The woman felt unwell at home and was taken to the Bnei Brak hospital, which has a largely haredi clientele. As only Ravid comments on controversial issues, he said he doubted that Ynet journalists spoke to a staffer whe made such a false statement and without permission. "I was not asked about it," the director-general added.


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