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Archives Photo: Haim Zach
 
 

Court to haredi school: End segregation or face closure

Supreme Court accepts petition filed against Beit Yaakov School in Emanuel settlement over segregation of Ashkenazi, Sephardic pupils. 'School infringed on Sephardic girls' right to equality,' Justice Levi says

Ronen Medzini
Published: 08.09.09, 16:31 / Israel Jewish Scene

The Supreme Court on Thursday granted a petition against the segregation of Ashkenazi and Sephardic girls at the Beit Yaakov School in the West Bank settlement of Emanuel.

 

The honorable Edmond Levi, Hanan Meltzer and Edna Arbel ordered the school to nullify within a week all discriminatory practices and protocols that separate between Ashkenazi and Sephardic students.

 

"Should the school fail to carry out the order, the Education Ministry must use all the legal means at its disposal to remedy the situation, including revoking the school's license and stopping the allocation of funds to the institution," the court said.

 

The petition against the Independent Learning Center, Emanuel Regional Council, and the Ministry of Education was submitted by the Noar C'Halacha Youth Organization.

 

The reported discrimination included the construction of separate classrooms and separate entrances for Ashkenazim and Sephardics, imposing Ashkenazi-style prayer on Sephardic pupils, separation fences in the school's courtyard and different recess times for Ashkenazi and Sephardic students.

 

"Although the school is sectorial, a minimal level of tolerance is expected of it," said Justice Arbel.

Justice Levi said the school "infringed on the Sephardic girls' right to equality" and that the Education Ministry "failed to prevent this discrimination."

 

Attorney Aviad Hacohen, dean of the Sha'arei Mishpat Academic College, filed the petition on behalf of Noar C'Halacha. "We welcome the court's important ruling, which is a milestone in the struggle to root out all discriminatory practices from the education system, particularly the haredi education system.

 

"No child should be subject to discrimination because of his or her ethnic or socio-economic background," he said.

 

Noar C'Halacha Director Yoav Laloum said, "The apartheid within the education system, particularly within the haredi education system cannot continue." 

 

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