State Threatens Ashkenazi Parents with Criminal Charges


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Emanuel, Israel – The state is warning the parents of 74 ashkenazi girls, students in a Beis Yaakov in the Shomron community of Emanuel, that if they do not return their girls to the school they will face criminal charges, trials and possibly a jail time.

The sad incident surrounds the battle in the community’s Beis Yaakov School between ashkenazim and sephardim. A High Court ruling has opened the school’s doors to sephardi girls, prompting the parents of 74 students to take their girls out, many/ most now attending what the state is calling “pirate schools” in apartments in the community.

The parents involved have received warning letters, which will be followed by a visit to each home by a truancy officer, after which criminal charges may be filed against the families involved.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)


  1. Before all the loose lips (or typing fingers, as the case may be) start in this case, NO ONE, at least not on the basis of this article, knows enough about this case to even HAVE an opinion.
    So, before we all start expressing our strong opinions, let’s at least wait until we have a reason to have one.

  2. This story lacks a lot of pertenent information.

    Is this a racial issue?

    Is one communuity more religion then the other and they do not want to mix with those who might influence their own children?

    Does it have to do with space in the classrooms?

    Where were the Sephardi girls going to school before this?

    Who decided to change things and why?

    Was this part of some ongoing strife?

    Those who write these articles should really give a complete explanation with details.

  3. The racism is shocking and horribly disturbing. They are keeping their daughters out of school because of the presence of Sephardi girls? INSANITY!

  4. #1 The facts are pretty clear from all the past investigation and actions. In a nutshell, Sephardic parents are experiencing academic discrimination towards their daughters at the Beis YakovSchool in Emanuel. Since the schools are under the auspices of the Educational Ministry (they receive funds, grants, financial assistance of their infrastructure, et.)they must abide by laws of the state regarding ‘open enrollment’, ‘equal opportunities’ for all students. Till now this has not been occuring so parents filed a lawsuit close to 6 months ago to destroy the ‘Berlin Wall’ that seperates the sefradic and ashkenazic beis yakov girls at entrance, recess and learning times. The court filed in favor of the sefradic families so the ashkenazic families removed their daughters from the school for them to learn privately……

    None of this can make SENSE to an American family, since the majority of our schools are intergrated and diversified (excluding perhaps the chassidish schools). On the walls ofour yeshivos there are photos of gedolim of different backgrounds, and one day the baali tefillah could be Iranian, Russian, European, Israeli or plain old American hebraic nusach.
    #3’some ongoing strife’— this strife has been century old strife of mesorahs, who is better, more chasuv, authentic, dress, food, tefilah, nationalist, insular, global etc. NOTHING NEW except quite hurtful to those involved.
    A similiar lawsuit was upheld in the Beis Yakov of Givat Shaul, where a prominent Sefradic family’s daughter was not accepted to the school run by a daughter of a chasuva Ashkenazie Rav. Case was won and daughter is inthe school…..

  5. this is so sad. it’s too upsetting to me to talk about at length.
    i asked my rebbe about it, he said that he can’t believe that any real ruv told the parents such a thing, i hope this is true, but i doubt it.
    the truth is, it’s probably better for the ashkenazi girls to leave the school, let them grow up uneducated while the sefardi girls get the better jobs and husbands for a change.

  6. 5 minutes ago I read about 13-year old Ariel from the States giving all his BarMitzvah money and gifts to an autistic boy in Israel, and I thought – wow – definitely a step forward in bringing Moshiach.

    Now I read this story – and I strongly suspect it’s two steps back!

  7. I have lived in Emanuel for eleven years, have six kids who have been and are still attending schools here. When we first came, there were three schools for boys and one for girls – the only school for girls was the Beis Yacov, which already had within in a split off Chabad school, which soon after moved to its own building. The original Beis Yacov was largely comprised of Chassidic families.

    The three boys schools were then and continue to be Chabad, Chassidic, and Sephardic. “Chassidic” does not mean “Ashkenazic”. Members of both communities marry each other, so these terms really refer to minhagim (traditions) and not ethnic group. This point cannot be emphasized enough. It is nearly impossible to point to a family and declare, “they are Ashkenazim” or “Sephardim” if you are speaking in ethnic terms. We are already blended. Though some families are still obviously of beautiful Yemenite origin – and their girls are attending the Beis Yacov Chasidi.

    The demographics here changed. Chassidim were moving out, and the flavor the original Beis Yacov was becoming more modern. The formation of the Beis Yacov Chasidi was an effort by members of the original Chassidic population here to re-create the kind of Beis Yacov that they had a decade ago. It was a stricter school – in terms of dress, exposure to media, even to some aspects of Haredi culture that they feel is not for them as in Haredi “rock music”, choice of careers, etc – and certainly NOT of an “Ashkenazic” school! This was after a couple of years of outreach programs meant to encourage people to move the original Beis Yacov back towards its original narrower interpretation of the Israeli Haredi lifestyle. This outreach did not succeed, so the Chassidim formed their own school – in their minds, returning to the original school’s former style.

    Hostile reporters are harassing children here. The Chassidic children, (Ashkenazi Sephardic, blended) feel intimidated. They are afraid to walk to and from school. The following happened to me on Monday January 25. I approached a hostile reporter:

    Me: You come here to lie about us. How would you like it if someone filmed your children?
    Reporter: I would be very happy go ahead and do it.
    Me: We don’t do that because we are not cruel. You lie about us. What is wrong in your life that you want to provoke Haredim? (She started walking to her car) Is there a problem in your life that causes you to provoke Haredim?
    Reporter: You need pills. Can someone calm her down? You are a crazy woman.
    Me: Go away. We don’t want you here, we stand against you, men and women, Sephardim and Ashkenazim, we stand against you united. Go away. Stop lying about us.
    (Getting into her car, she opened the door abruptly and it bumped my stomach)
    Me: Do not hit me with your car door! (Incredibly, she opened the car door threateningly to hit me again but I jumped away.
    Reporter: “You need pills go take pills.” She contorted her face and stuck out her tongue, shaking her head back and forth, then drove away.

    When will people stop believing media lies? When will they question media provocation? Reporters will mentally and physically attack people and you believe what they say?

    Comment by RG — March 15, 2010 @ 8:20 am


    Post Script,

    After I sent this off I realized the ultimate irony here and one worth mentioning. Are you aware that this year another school opened in Emanuel? It is called “Beis Rachel and Leah”. It opened under the auspices of the boy’s Sephardic school. Why has that attracted no media attention?

    My description of what happened between myself and that hostile reporter above was just to tell you what it is like to live under a cloud of media provocation. I still struggle with whether I did the right thing at all in confronting her, and have personally decided not to speak to hostile reporters again, the toll it took on me was staggering. I am not telling others what to do, just that, close up, I have seen media provocation, and I hope never to confront it again.

    Comment by RG —

  8. The girls who attend the Beis Yacov Chasidi in Emanuel have their roots in the following countries: Iraq, Persia, Morocco, Kurdistan, Yemen, India, The Old Yishuv here in Israel, Tunisia, Poland, Hungary, Russia, Germany. What makes this school different is its standards, that is all.

  9. Because of its small size, Emanuel has been a nice place for people to get to know members of different kinds of communities more easily than in a large city perhaps. That makes this horrendous media fabrication all that more ironic – and painful. Those of you who have written above who have believed the media and are yearning for Moshiach – have you not considered that lies about Jewish people may also be postponing Moshiach’s arrival?

  10. Another point – one of the original founders of the Beis Yacov chasidi, which was founded in 2007, was Rav Ba’adani, a gadol (very well respected Rabbinical authority) who happens to be Sepharadic. Additionally, there were two families who had daughters in both the original Beis Yacov and the Beis Yacov Chasidi at the very same time, proving yet again that this was not an ethnic division. This is a dynamic, fluid society. There were girls who switched back to the original school and those who switched to the Chasidi school the following year. There is an excellent Chabad school here, plus secular, dati leumi and charedi dati leumi (chardal) schools in other towns in the Shomron that offer excellent alternatives, and the new Beis Rachel and Leah, run by a wonderful principal and staff, offer yet another choice for students here.

    I live in Emanuel. I love the variety here, some of which must be preserved in diverse educational institutions. Variety has been instrumental in the survival of the Jewish people, both nationally and individually.

    Don’t give so much power to the media by believing their misinformation. Two years ago, I approached a so-called journalist that was here with two cameramen – she said to me that it must be an ethnic division because the chasidi school is in the same building. (Does that make any sense? What is wrong with two schools in one building? It saves on resources! The top floor had housed the high school until they got a new building a few years ago, so why not use the empty rooms for the chasidi school?) I said, “but the Chabad school began inside this buidling until they got their own building.” She blushed, blinked rapidly, eyes darted back and forth, said, “I have work to do” and walked off quickly. She had already drawn her conclusions, no need for the facts.

    Next time you hear a news story that moves you, please contact people who live locally to get a sense of what is happening.

  11. Dear Stan the Man –

    What “Berlin Wall” are you talking about? Do you mean the flimsy door that was left open a lot of the time so the special needs assistant teacher could go from one school to the other? Have you ever visited Emanuel?