Court OKs release of 35 Emmanuel dads

Settlement: Ashkenazi and sephardi girls to learn together for 3 days.

By DAN IZENBERG, JPOST.COM STAFF
June 27, 2010 17:23
2 minute read.
Haredim at the Emmanuel 'pirate' school court hear

Haredim court 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

The High Court of Justice on Sunday released the fathers of 35 girls enrolled in the Beit Ya'acov primary school for girls in Emmanuel after accepting a proposal by Shas spiritual mentor Ovadia Yosef and the Slonim rabbi temporarily ending the contempt of court action which had led to the fathers' incarceration.

"We welcome the initiative of the leaders of the generation to try and spread peace, brotherhood and friendship among all the quarreling parties," Justice Edmond Levy wrote in his decision at the end of a two-hour hearing. "We are sure that with worthy efforts and the cooperation of the state and local elements involved in the matter and, above all, the Ministry of Education, it will be possible to find a solution to the question which arose in all its severity in the petition before us."

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Sunday's agreement, for which Yosef and the Slonim rabbi took credit, was actually the work of Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman and several haredi activists. One of them, Moshe Weiss, said Neeman went over the document word by word.

Overnights, Shas Party leader Eli Yishai made some changes in the agreement which was then signed by Yosef and the Slonim rabbi. 

According to the agreement, the gathering of the Sephardi and Ashkenazi girls will end on Tuesday, the last day of the school year. The parent's lawyer, Green, said that during the summer months, the parties would continue to meet to find a permanent solution which would satisfy the court.

The agreement also calls for the right of the Ashkenzai parents to establish a new school next year in accordance with the regulations drawn up by the Independent Education Center, the separate school they had been operating.

The legal representatives of the petitioners and of the State recognized the settlement reached by the Shas and Slonim religious leaders as fulfilling the terms of the High Court ruling last year prohibiting ethnic discirmination in the Beit Ya'acov school.

The petition was signed after the Ashkenazi parents established a separate school within the Beit Ya'acov school building.

Since the agreement only covers the next three days, the court ordered the parents to inform it by August 25 of what arrangements had been made in the Beit Ya'acov school for the following school year.

Thousands of demonstrators showed up Saturday evening outside the Central District Court in Tel Aviv in support of the High Court's determination to end the separation of Sepharadi and Ashkenzai students in Emmanuel's school.

Attending the rally, MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) said, "Wake up Netanyahu! Even Eli Yishai and Moshe Gafni received blows in Mea Shearim."

Horowitz also announced that he would propose a bill in the Knesset Sunday that would prevent schools that discriminate against students from receiving government financial support.


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