Belgian Hassidic school expels Natorei Karta sons

Court orders Natorei Karta leader Aryeh Friedman’s two sons expelled from the all-girls Banot Yerushalayim school.

Natorei Karta (photo credit: MAHMOUD KHEIR/REUTERS)
Natorei Karta
A Belgian court last week ordered Natorei Karta leader Aryeh Friedman’s two sons expelled from the all-girls Banot Yerushalayim school in which they were studying, according to haredi news website Kikar Hashabbat.
The boys were not accepted to any other Jewish schools in Antwerp due to their father’s leadership role within the Natorei Karta organization.
The children were only allowed to enroll in the girls’ school after a previous case in which a court had ordered the school to take the boys due to a law that publicly funded institutions may not discriminate on the basis of gender.
Natorei Karta is an extreme, anti-Zionist offshoot of the Satmar hassidic sect and is known for its ties to Iran and the PLO. Friedman is considered persona non-grata, even among members of communities adamantly opposed to Zionism, due to his attendance at a Holocaust denial conference in Tehran in 2006, at which he hugged Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Friedman moved to Antwerp from New York in 2011 due to his inability to find a school that would accept his children there.
After being unable to find a school in Belgium to enroll them, he successfully sued the Banot Yerushalayim school, which is affiliated with the Belz hassidic sect.
Friedman declared that in having his sons enrolled in a girl’s only school, he was striking a blow for gender equality in the hassidic world, reported the haredi news website Vos Iz Neias (What’s News).
He subsequently went to court to compel a Belz-affiliated all-male yeshiva to accept his three daughters, the Yeshiva World News reported.
According to several haredi news outlets, rabbis in New York issued a document “warning Orthodox Jews around the world to avoid interacting with Friedman in any way” in January.
In line with the worldwide haredi boycott of Friedman, the Belz community in Antwerp vowed to fight the court decision and won a temporary ruling last week.
While Friedman’s boys are no longer in the school, the decision will need to be ratified by the court in a future hearing.
Malka Friedman, the boys’ grandmother, has filed a custody suit against her son.