With Rosh Hashanah only a number of weeks away, one can only lament the realities surrounding the situation in Ramot A regarding a Dati Leumi school being used to provide a [temporary] solution for the Beis Yaakov system.
The battle being waged over a Ramot A school building will without a doubt leave bad memories for all concerned as parents battle it out on the streets, City Hall, and in court, compelling the students to ‘take side’ against one another.
The story begins with the National Religious School in Ramot A which this year only managed to pull in between 100 and 150 students, depending on who one asks, due to the demographic realities in the neighborhood which is becoming more chareidi.
As a result of the efforts of Jerusalem Councilman Netanel, who enlisted the aid of lawyers and others, the Beis Yaakov girls have been ousted from the building, which hold some 700 pupils.
Jerusalem officials turned to the Interior Ministry and obtained a permit to bring the Beis Yaakov girls in, offering a solution from their overcrowded caravan classrooms of between 40-44 girls per class. The fact that that 2/3s of the building is vacant does not interest the parents’ of the Dati Leumi students and they are doing everything possible to oust the chareidi students.
PTA member Shai Horowitz, a chareidi yid, explains the overcrowding in the Beis Yaakov School is intolerable, while the Dati Leumi School is all but vacant. He questions why it bothers the Dati Leumi community so much providing a proper learning environment for the Beis Yaakov girls.
There are disputes as to the validity of the Interior Ministry occupancy permit for the Beis Yaakov girls, which will eventually make its way to the Supreme Court.
In the meantime, another generation of girls is learning to dislike one another just because they follow different ways of Avodas Hashem.
Following is testimony from Shai Horowitz: I live in Ramot A for some ten years and three of my daughters learn in area Beis Yaakov schools. One learns in a caravan classroom, which is below any acceptable standard. The others learn in overcrowded classrooms of 44 pupils. Only a few minutes from their makeshift campus is the Ramat A Dati Leumi School which sits all but empty, and for reasons that are difficult to understand, when we try to enter to offer equal learning opportunities to our children, we learn we are most unwanted visitors.
There is room for 700 students and at present, there are only 100 students occupying the building.
I am outraged. Because we are chareidi aren’t we too entitled to basic amenities, acceptable classrooms and learning conditions? Aren’t we permitted to live where we chose like everyone else?
Isn’t there one tzaddik in Sodom willing to stand up and say chareidim, dati leumi, secular, it does not matter. One may live where one wishes. Where is Jerusalem City Hall, the Ministry of Education, to ensure the basic rights of every student?
For now, the battle continues and as is commonly the case in Israel, the Supreme Court will probably have the final say but at the end of the day, the sad reality that two streams of Yiddishkeit are unable to share a building despite the vast space available is most unfortunate.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)