Parents of students in a religious state school in cental Israel recently petitioned Lod District Court after they discovered the school intends to separate boys and girls in the younger classes, in contravention of regulations on state religious education.
Psagot Afek school in Rosh HaAyin, which was only opened last year, decided to separate boys and girls in the younger classes in order to offer another gender-segregated option in the city, alongside the mixed gender options.
As a result of the petition, the school will continue to operate in a mixed-gender format.
Student segregation in the first through third grades is against the regulations on state religious education, which state that segregtion can only be done from the first grade if two-thirds of parents support it.
The Director of Education and Youth in the municipality, Dr. Nigist Mengesha, told worried parents before the move was cancelled that the decision had been made in association with the Ministry of Education.
Dr. Mengesha told the parents that a meeting on the matter had taken place at the Ministry of Education, saying that the decision was made in order to align the school with other schools in the city, "where boys and girls study in separate classrooms, in order not to create another model of a school where boys and girls study in one classroom."
Shmuel Shattach, Executive Director of Ne’emanei Torah Va’Avodah movement, which promotes a combination of liberal and Jewish values, assisted the opposing parents in their petition.
"It has been proven once again that segregation in the education system is not a predestination, and that parents should take responsibility in fighting segregation and improving their children's education system in accordance with their beliefs," Shattach said.
"We congratulate the municipality, the director of education and the Ministry of Education, who have decided to retract their plan and allow further mixed studies at the school. This decision will strengthen the ability to provide religious education in a complex world."
The municipality of Rosh HaAyin and the Ministry of Education chose not to respond to Ynet's requests on the matter.