An administrative court determined on Monday that the Jerusalem Municipality favors local ultra-Orthodox institutions.
Judge Noam Solberg granted a petition filed by the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) against the City's decision to increase the budget of recognized unofficial haredi educational institutions, claiming that it goes against the principle of equality.
Under Israeli law, the State provides funding of 65-75% to recognized unofficial haredi schools, but a few months ago the City Council approved the full funding of the activity of ultra-Orthodox educational institutions, while clearly discriminating against other sectors.
The Jerusalem Municipality's legal counsel, Attorney Yossi Havilio, issued a document supporting the position that the move damages the principle of equality, particularly since the budget increase did not apply to Arab schools. Mayor Nir Barkat ignored it and chose to adopt the opinion of a private lawyer submitted to his deputy, Rabbi Yitzhak Pindrus (United Torah Judaism).
The decision to increase the haredi institutions' budget was made by the City Council during a meeting which many council members were absent from due to their anger over the move. Council Member Laura Wharton (Meretz) sent Barkat a letter slamming "the despicable decision on the funding of education institutions."
In January, Menachem Mazuz, who served as attorney general at the time, joined the petition against the Jerusalem Municipality's decision.
Judge Solberg ruled that the City Council's decision will be cancelled as of the beginning of the next school year.
In response to the ruling, Wharton told Ynet, "This marks the beginning of our efforts to protect the interests of the general public in Jerusalem in the face of fanatical interests."
IRAC chairwoman Anat Hoffman said, "On the eve of Israel's 62nd Independence Day, the court gave the residents of Jerusalem in the form of upholding the principles of equality."
The Jerusalem Municipality said it would operate in accordance with the court's decision "so that the system of equal allocation will not be put in question."