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.
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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.
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
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.”
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.