Former Haredim lawsuit over subpar education rejected
Dozens of respondents say the absence of a basic high school education prevented them from integrating into the labor force and earning a decent living; nonetheless, court rules that claim is obsolete due to statute of limitations, and proceeds to order petitioners pay court expenses.
After a group of former Haredim filed a damages claim due to the lacking education they received in the ultra-Orthodox education system, the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court ruled on Thursday that due to the time that has passed since they were in the education system, their petition had become obsolete. Furthermore, the judge in the case ordered the petitioners to pay te court expenses.
The plaintiffs are dozens of Israelis raised in ultra-Orthodox society. Their claim argued that the state had a duty to provide them with a basic education that would enable them to develop and integrate into the labor force, despite their parents' desire to prevent them from doing so for religious reasons.
In its response, the state sought to shift the responsibility for said damages to the parents and education institutions, as they prevented the study of core subjects. In addition, the state argued that there was a statute of limitations in effect for the plaintiffs, since most of them are over the age of 25, thereby exceeding the seven years that the law allows for such a claim to be brought forward.
Jerusalem District Court Judge Moshe Bar-Am accepted the state's claim regarding the statute of limitations and even charged the relevant plaintiffs with NIS 20,000 in court costs, with half of the amount going to their parents and educational institutions.
Out for Change, an NGO that helps former Haredim complete their education and that helped bring the plaintiffs together, criticized the court's decision. "It is possible that in this battle, the state won against those who renounce the Haredi way of life, but we have no doubt that will win the war. Logic will win out, logic that says every graduate of the ultra-Orthodox education system is entitled to receive assistance from the state to fill in the gaps it caused them through a historical negligence.
"We are puzzled by the decision to impose a double fine on those who petitioned the court to protect themselves from discrimination, with the court deciding to punish them again by ordering (them to pay the court—ed) expenses, something judges rarely demand.
"When a person turns to help after being discriminated against by not being given a basic education, and is then discriminated against by being refused assistance in completing his education, as opposed to his ultra-Orthodox brothers, should he then be disproportionately fined?" wondered Out for Change in its response.
"This is a first-rate absurdity, because today, thanks to the organization's activity, many government ministries have already understood the injustice, chosen to take welcome steps to help all graduates of the ultra-Orthodox education system without any differences in their level of religiosity," the organization added.