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Court Orders Chareidi School to Pay Legal Costs in Sephardi Discrimination Lawsuits

csgThe Jerusalem District Court has instructed a chareidi high school in the district to withdraw its case against a Sephardi girl accepted to the school as a result of Ministry of Education intervention on her behalf. In addition, the court ordered the school to pay the family’s legal costs of NIS 3,500.

This story began before the beginning of the current school year. The parents of the girl asked the school to accept their daughter but the school’s administration would not. As a result, the girl remained home when the school year began as was the case with her friends. This led to an appeal to the Ministry of Education’s committee, which decided to compel the school to accept the girls.

The committee also ruled the school demanded registration fees from the girl which were illegal and the school failed to give the family an acceptance letter in writing as is the procedure. The school was also supposed to tell the family they had the right to appeal the school’s decision to the ministry.

The school decided not to accept the ministry’s decision, filing an appeal to reverse the decision with the Jerusalem Administrative Court. Attorneys Yoav Lalum and Reuven Biton represented the family in this proceeding.

The court heard disturbing facts from the girl’s attorneys, including the fact that the school marked questions on her entry exam incorrect even though her responses were correct. Lalum and Biton also detailed how school officials acted as they wished without regard for the law. Troubled by the information presented to the court, the court advised the school to withdraw its appeal, which it did. The court then instructed the school to pay the girl’s legal fees, NIS 3,500.

Attorney Lalum, who has been spearheading the battle to end discrimination against Sephardi girls, told the media the court told the school that it will not permit waging a war on the backs of the innocent girls. “I hope this will serve as a warning sign for others” added Lalum, who called to all parents who are victimized by discrimination in schools to turn to the Ministry of Education and not to accept such a policy as a fait accompli.

When asked to comment, the attorney for the school explains a gag order prohibiting publication of many details in the case and the names of those involved prevents comment.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

2 Responses

  1. Israel follows the British rule that the winner in a court case gets to bill the loser for attorney’s fees. This isn’t really a big deal.

    The case is more interesting since it appears that they were discriminating based on level of Yiddishkeit rather than ethnicty, and the school included some Sefardi students – but that has nothing to do with this article, and in any event, discriminating in favor of being “too frum” is clearly against Israeli public policy as applied to government funded institutions.

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