The ‘Hiddush’ organization affiliated with Reform Jewry is calling on the attorney general to order a police investigation against rabbonim who “intimidate parents”.
The letter from the organization sent to State Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein was also sent to Minister of Religious Services Yaakov Margi, and Israel Police Chief of Investigations Yoav Soglovitz. The organization is calling for an investigation against Rabbi Yisroel Zicherman, the rav of Brechfeld in Modi’in Illit along with two other rabbonim, who Hiddush alleges threatened parents. The other rabbonim are Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Ulman (Av Beis Din Modi’in Illit) and Rabbi Yaakov Yosef Barzel.
Hiddush points out these rabbonim literally threatened parents who “dared” to turn to state agencies to complain about discrimination in chareidi mosdos for girls. Hiddush feels Rabbi Zicherman uses threatening language in his letter against parents who have turned to authorities after daughters were rejected from Ashkenazi yeshivos.
“Instead of combating discrimination Rabbi Zicherman opted to combat those who are discriminated against” Hiddush’s letter reads.
Hiddush officials feel the threatening letter is tantamount to scaring people to the point they fear filing a complaint, and this they feel is illegal, as well as “an abuse of authority” and “interfering with an investigation” since they are trying to prevent taking action against discriminatory policies, which are illegal.
It is also pointed out that for as long as the rabbis are bound by the ethics as defined by the state, the letter also represents a serious ethical breach and Rabbi Zicherman’s actions as a public official are simply unacceptable.
According to information released last week by the Ministry of Education, there are many frum girls who remain home since they have not been accepted in “seminaries”, frum high schools. There are 95 known cases in Bnei Brak, 182 in Yerushalayim, 44 in Betar Illit, 40 in Modi’in Illit and 32 in Elad. These were the figures presented to the High Court of Justice by ministry officials.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)