June 18: Educational Freedom

Parents being thrown in jail is shocking.

alef bet 311 (photo credit: Screenshot)
alef bet 311
(photo credit: Screenshot)
Educational freedom
 Sir, – It is shocking that in a democratic country, parents can be thrown in jail for wanting to educate their children according to their religious standards (“Mass rally planned in support of Emmanuel parents headed to jail,” June 17).
The left-wing Supreme Court justifies this tyranny by pulling the race card – although this has nothing to do with race or ethnicity.
For these parents, modesty and religiousness are the issues.
All Israelis should protest the court decision – if we don’t, our own children will be the next ones forced to go to an unacceptable school.
LEAH URSO Jerusalem
Sir, – After thoroughly reviewing the circumstances surrounding the alleged discrimination at Emmanuel’s Beit Ya’acov school, we find it most difficult to understand the logic in the decision of the High Court to jail the parents and levy substantial fines.
There is absolutely no discrimination against Sephardim. It is solely a matter of the religious standards a parent by right determines for a child.
The Hassidic track, which is being portrayed as exclusively Ashkenazi, consists of 25 percent Sephardim who chose the track because of their identification with its standards. Similarly, there are many Ashkenazim in the other track because they want those standards for their daughters.
Furthermore, there is a school in Emmanuel that is exclusively Sephardi, proudly teaching the heritage of that illustrious community – and no one is accusing them (and, indeed, no one should) of discrimination.
Finally, what right does a court have to tell parents where to educate their children? Here in the US, it is a basic freedom, as it should be in the Israeli democracy.
Kew Gardens, New York
One less friend
Sir, – I am just your average US, middle-of-the-road citizen and a staunch and passionate supporter of Israel my entire life. There is much in the Israeli culture and character that I admire.
As a child, when I first read the Diary of Anne Frank, my grief was only mitigated by the knowledge that Israel existed. As an adult, I visited Dachau, and this cemented my unshakable belief that Israel must always be protected by my country, no matter what.
So it is with profound sadness, and in concert with my many like-minded friends and family, that my solidarity with Israel has vanished. While western civilization has struggled to learn from and not to repeat the past, it seems that Israel has not.
I cannot blame your media or politicians, because you, like America, are a democracy and you have spoken. You have created unimaginable living conditions for your fellow human beings; starved, humiliated and murdered innocent Palestinian women and children; and deprived them of the rights Americans hold dear to our hearts, all in the name of your right to exist. It brings 1939 to mind.
You, who have endured centuries of even worse treatment should of all nationalities exhibit the most kindness and compassion.
At least, that is how I imagined you would be. I pray for your humanity to make itself known, and that you continue to exist. But not at the expense of the Palestinians. And not at the expense of the United States of America.
I urge my president and Congress to withdraw financial and military support immediately. I urge the State of Israel to create peace in good faith. I urge the people of Israel to understand that you are not behaving like a friend.
Gloucester, Massachusetts
Missives, not missiles
Sir, – Religions are based on scripture, which is mostly poetry. So it only makes sense that religious conflict must be resolved through poetry, and not through politics, negotiation or war.
I propose that all religious conflicts be redefined poetically, so that they can be resolved without bloodshed, winners or losers. So let’s sharpen our pencils, not our swords; send missives, not missiles; and apply our minds to metaphor, simile, rhyme, meter and prosody, but not pomposity, animosity, ferocity, atrocity or monstrosity.
Eagle Rock, Missouri