Haredi men in Jerusalem
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Search on for haredi mothers

Police determined to locate 22 mothers, four fathers who go underground to avoid prison; senior haredi source: Disappearance was not planned. Earlier, more than 100,000 haredim protested High Court ruling

The Israel Police have launched a search for 22 mothers and four fathers who went underground Thursday in order to avoid a prison sentence ordered by the High Court of Justice.


More than 30 haredi parents arrived at the police station as agreed earlier Thursday, in order to serve a two-week prison term for refusing to adhere to a High Court of Justice ruling regarding their daughters' schooling.


Police face protestors (Photo: Reuters)


Meanwhile, Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy decided to delay the implementation of detainment orders against the women.


In response to an appeal filed by the women's attorneys, Justice Levy delayed the orders until the court will discuss the matter further Friday morning.


Earlier, following a meeting convened by Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen, officials decided to utilize all means at their disposal in order to implement the court's order in a "rapid, determined, and absolute manner."


At the time of the meeting, police had no information about the whereabouts of the 26 haredi parents.


However, police officials were apparently aiming to trace cellular phone calls made by the missing parents in order to locate them, while also eliciting intelligence information from haredi sources.


'We did nothing wrong'  

Meanwhile, senior haredi figures met in Jerusalem Thursday evening in order to discuss the latest developments, which stem from haredi parents' refusal to end racial segregation at their daughters' school.


A senior haredi figure demanded that the women turn themselves in to police.


"We are unwilling to accept what happened and intend to express our position by law, and proudly show up at the gates of prison, without any shame," he said. "The women's disappearance was not planned and we did not initiate it. We guided them in recent days in order for them to handle the physical and mental difficulties expected in prison."


According to the source, the haredi struggle was lawful and was managed in a dignified manner "in order to convey a clear and sharp message that we do not intend to compromise on our children's education – yet we do not intend to hide. We did nothing wrong and we have nothing to be ashamed of."


Earlier Thursday, more than 100,000 haredim protested the High Court's ruling in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, later accompanying the parents to the police station. The demonstrations were peaceful and virtually no clashes were reported between haredim and police forces.


Ari Gilhar contributed to the story


פרסום ראשון: 06.18.10, 00:15
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