Israeli transgender boy to be transferred out of religious school - report

The 8-year-old transgender boy studying at a religious boys' school in Givat Shmuel was assigned female at birth.

The Transgender Pride Flag flies on the Foreign Office building in London on Transgender Day of Remembrance, 20 November 2017. (photo credit: FOREIGN COMMONWEALTH & DEVELOPMENT OFFICE)
The Transgender Pride Flag flies on the Foreign Office building in London on Transgender Day of Remembrance, 20 November 2017.
(photo credit: FOREIGN COMMONWEALTH & DEVELOPMENT OFFICE)

An eight-year-old transgender boy will be transferred from his religious school in Givat Shmuel to another school, Israel's Education Ministry decided, N12 reported Tuesday.

The decision followed the outraged protests by other parents in the school, who had discovered the boy was assigned female at birth – a fact that had been kept secret by the school. 

The new move also goes against the wishes of the child's own family, N12 reported.

What is the issue with a transgender boy studying at an Israeli religious school?

As first reported in late August, parents of children studying at the religious mixed school Moreshet Nerya in Givat Shmuel discovered that one of the third graders was assigned female at birth. While the school is attended by both boys and girls, they are placed in separate classes starting in second grade.

Further, it was found that the school was aware that the boy was transgender but kept this fact private and placed him in the boys' class in the grade.

Parents protest against transgender boy in front of a religious public school in central Israel, September 9, 2022 (credit: Courtesy)Parents protest against transgender boy in front of a religious public school in central Israel, September 9, 2022 (credit: Courtesy)

This soon sparked a campaign of outrage by some on the Israeli Right. 

Parents protested in front of the school and refused to send their children. Members of the Religious Zionist Party also spoke out on the issue.

“There is no place in the national religious school system for such confusion of opinions and views that seriously harm the values, natural health and identity of its students. We must say in a clear voice and without any hesitation that this has no place in our school. No legal hair-splitting can prevail over common sense and natural health.”

Bezalel Smotrich

“There is no place in the national religious school system for such confusion of opinions and views that seriously harm the values, natural health, and identity of its students,” Religious Zionist Party leader Bezalel Smotrich wrote to the Education Ministry at the time. “We must say in a clear voice and without any hesitation that this has no place in our school. No legal hair-splitting can prevail over common sense and natural health.”

Speaking out in defense of the boy was Yossi Brodny, Givat Shmuel's mayor who was also No. 2 on the Habayit Hayehudi Party list under Ayelet Shaked going into the last Israeli election.

But parents stayed firm, many of whom took their children out of classes and instead sent them to a makeshift classroom set up in a synagogue, N12 reported.

The parents of the transgender boy are upset at the decision and efforts are underway to appeal the decision. However, the Education Ministry maintained it was for the boy's own benefit, though said they wouldn't explain further, N12 reported.

This isn't the first time there was an issue at an Israeli school regarding a transgender student. 

In one other recent incident in Herzliya, controversy erupted over an eight-year-old transgender girl who was assigned male at birth.

Eliav Breuer contributed to this report.