Beit Shemesh Chabad school 'on strike' over principal

While other children across the country were beginning their first day back in class, pupils at a Chabad elementary school in Ramat Beit Shemesh were joined by their parents on Tuesday morning in a protest over the Education Ministry's decision to hire a new principal for the institution. The crowd, which blocked the entrance to the school, was later broken up by police, who arrived on the scene after about an hour. The parents refuse to allow their children to begin their studies at the school, as long as the new principal, who they say has a history of violence toward children, is employed there. "This is a principal who has been fired from two other schools in the past for hitting children, and the parents feel he is a danger to their children," a Chabad representative in Ramat Beit Shemesh told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. "The parents feel as though the Education Ministry is forcing them to accept this man into their school," he said. The parents are also upset that the school's original principal, a Chabad rabbi with 30 years of experience, is no longer working there, and say that they registered their children for the new year with the understanding that he would still be in charge. "They feel that he is better suited to the job," the Chabad representative said. "And they have a right to be concerned about this new principal." The parents said they are willing to keep their "strike" going as long as it takes to make the Education Ministry change its decision, and that the school's 300 pupils would find another place in which to continue their studies. Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.