Elyashiv slams court’s ‘insufferable decree’ on school

High Court of Justice rules segregated school operating in contempt of court.

The recent High Court of Justice ruling that an independent educational center operating haredi schools was in contempt of court is an “insufferable decree” against which “a resonating outcry must be raised,” Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv has told Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush (UTJ), according to Radio Kol Chai.
Elyashiv, 100, the most respected halachic authority within the Ashkenazi haredi world, spoke with Porush on Thursday night, according to the report, a day after the court ruled that the Independent Education Center, operated by Agudat Yisrael, failed to implement a court order to stop discriminating against Sephardi students in its Beit Ya’acov Girls’ School in Emmanuel.
The decision also set a NIS 5,000 fine for every day the school continues to violate the court’s ruling. The school belongs to the recognized but unofficial stream and is entitled to full state funding.
In addition to meeting with Elyashiv, Porush will consult with other haredi rabbis to determine what to do following the latest court ruling.
The judges also said that parents of Ashkenazi students refusing to attend the school could be issued subpoenas to explain their actions, ultimately risking contempt of court charges, a fine or imprisonment. The parents will also be required to explain where their children studied in the meantime.
Friday’s Hamevaser newspaper called the court’s intervention in the school’s workings “dangerous,” and quoted unnamed senior rabbis as saying that they’d be willing to be go to jail along with the parents of Ashkenazi students, should the latter be imprisoned for contempt of court.
Ashkenazi parents belonging to hassidic sects opened a separate school within the building in 2007 for girls who were prepared to obey rigorous religious strictures and, among other things, speak Hebrew only with an Ashkenazi accent.
The Independent Education Center built plaster walls to separate the so-called hassidic track from the regular track, established separate entrances and separate teachers’ rooms, and divided the school courtyard in two with a burlap curtain. In 2008, Sephardi parents petitioned the High Court to close the hassidic school.
Porush told Hamevaser that theEducation Ministry inspector who had examined the school concluded thatthe students were not segregated for racial reasons but rather due todifferences in their families’ lifestyles, and that not a single girlwho wished to be accepted to the hassidic track was turned down. Porushadded that 30 percent of the students in the hassidic track were ofSepharadi origin.
Dan Izenberg contributed to this report.