It is irrelevant if one agrees or disagrees with the Emanuel parents at present, but what is for certain is that the 43 families, whose daughters have not been attending the Emanuel Beis Yaakov, are unwilling to acquiesce to the nation’s High Court of Justice, supported by Gedolei HaDor Shlita.
For a first time in the history of the State of Israel, parents will be going to prison for insisting on providing their children with a frum education as they define it. On Tuesday, the High Court of Justice handed down its ruling in the matter, stating any parent unwilling to abide by the decision to send their daughters to the school will face a two-week prison sentence. By most accounts, Justices Edmond Levy, Edna Arbel and Chanan Meltzer simply do not understand what they are up against, the willingness of the chareidi community to go to prison, mesirus nefesh for chinuch and their need to adhere to the instructions of their leaders, in this case, the Slonimer Rebbe Shlita, who will be there, marching with the parents to the prison gates.
According to a HaMevaser report, 86 parents will march on Thursday, heading to prison for two weeks as they cling to their values, undeterred by the secular court which in this case seeks to undermine the rulings of Rabbonim Shlita. The parents are also incurring heavy fines for their contemptuous behavior, as Justice Levy announced on Tuesday that the nation’s highest court’s decision must be adhered to, and the rulings are not subject to the approval of anyone or halachic authority.
For the parents and the rabbonim, this has long stopped being a case pertaining to a Shomron Beis Yaakov school, but a precedent-setting matter challenging chareidi chinuch and lifestyles nationwide. Simultaneously, the court is also in the midst of announcing a decision regarding another case, one in which petitioners seek the court’s intervention, to compel chareidi schools to include ‘core subjects’ such as mathematics, English and science in the curriculum, once again, state involvement, seeking to dictate to the rabbonim how to educate the children.
There are a few unanswered questions, perhaps because the court did not expect the parents to remain firm in the face of prison and fines, but it appears no one knows which prison the 43 sets of parents will be housed, and under what conditions and accommodations. What about the hundreds of children left at home? Who will care for them?
Chareidi media reports quoting Posek HaDor Maran R’ Elyashiv Shlita state Maran is calling on the tzibur to come out en masse to escort the parents to prison, seeking a major showing of solidarity and strength. Thousands are expected to gather in support of the parents and to send a clear message to the High Court, in Yerushalayim and in Bnei Brak.
Attorney HaRav Mordechai Green explains the fact that the court sent the parents to prison attests to the fact the justices simply don’t get it, they are clueless as to the dispute in Emanuel, which is not at all a racial issue, but one surrounding different lifestyles and levels of yiddishkheit. Green states that jail term is a sign of the court’s frustration and inability to find an amicable solution, as if the justices didn’t hear the in-depth explanations presented by attorneys and parents alike.
The hearing on Tuesday sent a clear message to the court, perhaps an unwanted message, that their authority does not reign supreme, but halacha and the Rabbonim Shlita have the final word, an offensive fact of life for the court.
Despite the media coverage and widespread support, the parents are under enormous stress, the pressure of the fines levied by the court, NIS 200 daily, and facing jail tomorrow, Thursday, for two weeks, away from their families and under unknown conditions regarding kashrus and other basics, not to mention modesty standards, but they are Baruch Hashem remaining steadfast and determined, unwavering in their commitment to following the dictates of the Slonimer Rebbe and others who understand this is not just about Beis Yaakov Emanuel, but a challenge to chareidi chinuch nationwide and the Chinuch Atzmai system built over the decades to ensure the future of chareidi yiddishkheit for the next generations.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)