haredi girls backs 298.8.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Representatives from the Education Ministry are set to visit a religious girls' school in Emmanuel to investigate whether or not the school is separating students based on ethnic backgrounds, Army Radio reported on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Channel 2 revealed that the school's classes were re-designed in order to separate between the Ashkenazi and Sephardi pupils.
Channel 2 also reported that drywall was installed in the building's corridors and a fence was erected in the yard in order to prevent the two groups from meeting.
"It was necessary to split up the school by spiritual levels and not ethnic backgrounds," the Independent Education Center, the education network to which the Beit Ya'acov school belongs, said in response to Channel 2.
Last year, the Shas newspaper Yom Le'Yom accused the Beit Ya'acov high schools of rejecting students for being Sephardi. 'Racism must be denounced everywhere,' read the main headline of the latest edition. 'The names and pictures of the racists will be published,' promised the paper's editor, Yitzhak Kakon.
The leading Ashkenazi high schools are usually referred to by the names of their principals. The four most popular high schools are headed by Yehiel Mendelbaum, Binyamin Sharansky, Yeshayahu Lieberman and Eliezer Rov.
The plight of the girls is particularly harsh since they feel they have no other options.
'Attending less elite high schools ruins their chances of finding a good shiduch (match),' said one source. 'So they prefer staying home for a year to compromising on their standards.'
In fact, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, the preeminent haredi halachic authority, ordered that Beit Ya'acov postpone the start of the 2006 school year for ninth graders until the rejected girls found a place in the classroom.
Rabbi Aryeh Dvir denied last year the claims that Sephardi girls were being discriminated by elite Ashkenazi high schools. He said that between 150 and 180 girls had been rejected and estimated that about half were Ashkenazi.
Matthew Wagner contributed to this report.