Emmanuel parents who do not inform the High Court of Justice in writing
Wednesday that they will obey the court’s order to return their
daughters to the
Beit Ya’acov school there will be imprisoned for two weeks beginning
Justices Edmond Levy, Edna Arbel and Hanan Meltzer ruled late Tuesday
The Slonim Hassidim, who initiated the separation of several
dozen girls from the rest of the school for what they say were religious
reasons, have no intention of backing down from their refusal. They say
will march proudly to prison, accompanied by their Admor, Rabbi Shlomo
Barazovsky, as well as other leading rabbis and supporters, all of whom
consider imprisonment part of a battle fought for Torah.
is a religious war’
Sephardim fail to agree on Emmanuel girls school
conclusion of months of hearings, rulings and mediation attempts followed a
stormy hearing earlier in the day, when hassidic parents stated that they would
not obey the court order obliging them to send their daughters back to the
school as long their rabbis objected.
The justices reiterated that their
jail ruling was a response to the parents’ ongoing refusal to heed the
and stressed that the segregation in the school was on ethnic and not
The justices also noted that the court had warned the
that they could be facing imprisonment, and that the fines that had been
on them would be collected. Any imprisoned parent who accepts the
will be released.Slonim parents break out in song in
At the end of the hearing, the Slonim
parents and their
supporters in the courtroom were led in a unified cry of “Shema Yisrae
“The Lord is our God.”
They then broke out in a song expressing
that “evil plots will be disbanded, since God is with us [Utzu etza vetufar, ki
].” Court security at first attempted to evacuate the
singing men, but
eventually let them finish the song, after which they left the
“This is a battle over the Jewish religion, and the
of the religion, who have won all their past battles, will be victorious
too,” Avraham Luria, a Slonim Hassid and member of the breakaway
committee, told The Jerusalem Post
on Tuesday evening.
“We are like the
Hasmoneans who revolted against Antiochus.
We will march to
by our Admor and the rest of the [haredi rabbinical leadership],
all of the country’s haredi Jews.”
Luria pointed out that
the court decision, both fathers and mothers were facing
“No one has yet to die from a fortnight in
said, “but I certainly hope that the government of Israel will have the
take care of the hundreds of children whose parents are going to prison
enough foster families on such short notice.”
In addition, Luria
continued, “some of the women [facing imprisonment] have babies and are
breastfeeding. What will they do with the babies? And what about the
are in the advanced stages of pregnancy? Will the jail provide
ensure their health?” Barazovsky, who will be heading the march to jail,
holding consultations on Tuesday night with other prominent hassidic
to their response to the court’s decisive ruling.Thursday
procession to prison planned
The planned Thursday
procession to prison is expected to galvanize the haredi street into a
show of support for the hassidim and against the High Court. Deputy
Minister Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism) has already announced that
set up his office outside the walls of the prison on Thursday.
Lalom, who, with the Noar Kahalacha nonprofit organization, filed the
petition, wouldn’t comment on the court ruling.
Levy, who headed
judicial panel, had suggested to the parents in the morning hearing that
girls return to the school for the remaining two weeks of the term, and
work out a solution over the summer vacation.
Mordechai Green, then consulted with rabbis, presumably including
and told the court that in a conflict between the laws of Torah and
men, the divine decrees must prevail.
The response raised Levy’s
“I don’t know of any legal obligation for court rulings to
the approval of some rabbi or another,” said Levy, who is himself
“I’m terrified by the fact that a rabbi instructs his community to act
In the ruling on imprisonment later in the day,
justices alluded to the fact that the parents gave precedence to their
over the court, and repeated what they had said more than once during
hearing: “There is no need to note that our verdict is not subject to,
stipulated by, the approval of any exterior factor.”
that the physical separations in the Beit Ya’acov that had been built to
accommodate the hassidic track that the Slonim parents had initiated and
which some 70 girls studied, were illegal.
But once the barriers
removed, the parents refused to return their girls to the school unless
of the pupils’ parents agreed to a very stringent code of conduct and
an initiative that didn’t succeed.
As a result, at the
Barazovsky, the alternative-track parents tried to send their daughters
schools outside Emmanuel, an effort that was stymied by the Education
Green told Radio Kol Hai before the court’s decision
publicized that it was not clear why the parents should be held in
court, since the original petition by Lalom and Noar Kahalacha was not
the parents, but against the Independent Education Center (Hinuch
network under which the school operates.
Center, following the original court ruling, had ordered all the parents
return their girls to the school.
The notion of holding the
contempt of court, Green said, had only come after the court summoned
testimony, and if the charge of contempt was not applicable to the
defendant, it should not be used against the parents.
are intensifying within the haredi world to reach understandings on
relating to ethnic discrimination in Independent Education Center
throughout the country, as the issue has flared up several times over
An agreement, those involved say, might prevent future
instances of the court “meddling” in haredi education, as some perceive