Religious college slammed for capitulating to rabbinic pressure
Lifshitz College goes back on decision to appoint Prof. Shmuel Glick as president after national-haredi rabbis threaten not to send their students to study there. The reason: Glick used to teach at institute affiliated with conservative stream
A decision by the heads of the Lifshitz College of Education in Jerusalem, a prominent religious institute for teachers' training, to call off the appointment of a new president following pressure from the national-haredi stream, is stirring the Zionist religious world.
Last week the institution's board went back on its decision to appoint Prof. Shmuel Glick as the school's new head, after rabbis affiliated with the ultra-Orthodox stream that supports religious Zionism, threatened to stop sending their students to the college if the appointment goes through.
According to the rabbis, Glick had in the past taught at the Schechter Institute for Jewish Studies, which is affiliated with the Masorti (conservative) Movement in Israel.
Sources involved in the affair told Ynet at the time that the rabbis' decision to come out against Glick was in fact motivated by long-standing power struggles at the college. Glick's associates said he is a strictly Orthodox man and is known as such at the Schechter Institute as well.
Aggressive behaviorOn Tuesday this week, Glick resigned all his posts at the Lifshitz College. In a harsh letter to the school's board, he wrote: "It will be written in the pages of history of the Lifshitz College that the lies and manipulations of the emissaries of the national haredi rabbis who sit among you have defeated the rabbis of religious Zionism."
In the letter, copies of which have also been sent to Education Minister Gideon Saar and other relevant officials, Glick claimed that interested parties had spread the rumor that he is affiliated with the conservative stream, although this was "complete nonsense."
Meanwhile, a prominent graduate of the college, MK Uri Orbach (Habayit Hayehudi) informed the institution Tuesday that in light of the decision to cancel Glick's appointment as president he is returning the diploma he received upon graduation.
In a letter to the members of the schools general assembly Orbach wrote that the decision was made after "caving in to a campaign of pressure and threats," and not because the board was persuaded that Glick was not to right person to head the college.
"As a graduate of Lifshitz College and representative of religious Zionism, I am pained and ashamed that a religious academic institution folded to pressure rather than standing up to this aggressive behavior."