Home > Israel > Israel’s Supreme Court rules against Ashkenazi parents demanding segregated classrooms

Israel’s Supreme Court rules against Ashkenazi parents demanding segregated classrooms

(WJC)–The Supreme Court of Israel  has confirmed a two-week prison sentence for Orthodox Jewish parents of Ashkenazi descent who refuse to send their daughters to a girls school also attended by Sephardic children. unless they allow their daughters back to school by Thursday. The judges said the parent’s behavior had been racist.

Involved in the case is a group of close to 40 parents from a strictly observant sect of Chassidic Jews called Slonim, which has an Ashkenazi lineage. They currently reside in the West Bank settlement of Immanuel and have refused to allow their daughters to study at a girls’ school because it was also attended by students from Sephardic families.

In August 2009 the Supreme Court had ruled that Sephardic girls must be allowed to attend the same classes as the Ashkenazi ones, and as a result, the parents of 74 students removed their children from the school and set up make-shift lessons elsewhere in the settlement.

The Ashkenazi parents insisted they were not racist but wanted to keep the classrooms segregated because the families of the Sephardic girls were not religious enough. The Supreme Court rejected that argument and told the parents that the school must be integrated.

On Thursday, police in Jerusalem were on high alert ahead of protests by ultra-Orthodox Jews against the ruling. More than 10,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews were expected to turn out in support of the Ashkenazi parents in various places, with the main rally scheduled for Jerusalem.

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Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress.

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