The High Court of Justice was presented with a petition Sunday demanding that it order the Knesset and the Education Ministry to explain why ultra-Orthodox schools are not being forced to teach basic subjects, such as Mathematics and English.
Among the petitioners are Professors Amnon Rubinstein Uriel Reichman, and Brigadier-General (Res) Elazar Stern, former head of the IDF Human Resources Branch and chief education officer.
The petition criticizes a law passed in 2008, which determined that the state would fund schools that chose not to teach basic subjects as long as they were not teaching anything that opposes democratic, Jewish, and Israeli ideology.
The petitioners say that since the establishment of the state autonomy was prevalent within the school system, but that the state still guaranteed its citizens education by obligating schools to teach basic subjects (Hebrew, Mathematics, English, Bible Studies, History, Literature, and Geography). They claim the law altered this guarantee.
The petition adds that prior to the passing of the law in 2008 the Education Ministry did nothing to enforce the study of basic subjects, despite a court order to do so. It says the law was passed in order to grant yeshivas immunity from the High Court.
Tens of thousands of students are being deprived of knowledge, tools, and "basic training necessary for the fulfillment of human autonomy, the ability to make an honest living, and the ability to incorporate themselves in Israeli society as active, contributing, and equal citizens," the petitioners say.
They add that the law harms the legal rights of students attending the small yeshivas, and that it "perpetuates their economic dependence on the community and welfare payments from the state".
No democratic state, they conclude, agrees to fund a school system devoid of governmental inspection.