2:04PM IL: In an unexpected move, the High Court of Justice on Thursday ruled in the Emanuel Beis Yaakov case that HaGaon HaRav Yaakov Yosef Shlita will serve as arbitrator between the sides towards reaching an amicable solution regarding the discrimination against Sephardim in the school. The Ministry of Education objects to such a move, realizing it will remove the matter from the ministry’s jurisdiction.
R’ Yoav Lalum, who is spearheading the case against the school, and the subject of many attacks in the chareidi media and in the community, told reporters upon entering the court that he will not permit the demagogic ways of the past to continue. Following the decision of Justices Edmond Levy, Edna Arbel and Chanan Meltzer, to have HaRav Yaakov Yosef, a son of Chacham HaGaon HaRav Ovadia Yosef Shlita, act as arbitrator between the sides, he expressed satisfaction, stating that Rav Yaakov is known as an “Ish Emmes”, one who does not stray from the truth and is uninfluenced by one party or another.
The hearing convened in Hall Gimmel, but when it came to have the sides work out the agreement, they were sent downstairs to a side room, compelling the sides to sit and work out their differences. In attendance were Lalum, his attorney, Rav Avraham Yosef Lazerson and Chinuch Atzmai attorney Holtzberg, Yitzchak Weinberg, representing the parents and other officials involved in accepting the compromise agreement. The sides were also informed that if they exhibit an inability to reach agreement today, the situation will become more difficult and complicated.
The court also informed parents instructed to appear at today’s hearing that failure to comply with the court’s earlier ruling to send their children to the school will be perceived as contempt of court. The parents explained that the matter is perceived incorrectly, stating it is one of religious observance and lifestyle, not racism or discrimination as it has been portrayed.
According to the draft agreement, beginning this Sunday, the girls will all return to their classrooms. During the week, Chinuch Atzmai will attempt to work with parents and teachers towards defining the guidelines for the study of chassidus, at the heart of the problem. Issues that remain controversial will be arbitrated by Rav Yaakov Yosef.
Justice Levy made a point of stating the girls will learn in the same school and nothing will be done to signal any difference between them. Levy added that the current situation in which girls are learning in a different location every day may not continue, warning the parties involved that “you may not play around with the court’s ruling”.
Chinuch Atzmai’s HaRav Avraham Lazerson told the court that this is simply being blown out of proportion and the matter is not in any way a result of racism or discrimination, but simply placing students in the proper learning environment. Rav Lazerson added that his organization was established to provide a solution for girls from N. African, Yemenite and Moroccan descent, and as such, the first schools were established in development areas, and even today, most of the population of Beit Yaakov schools is Sephardim.
Rabbi Lazerson added that Chinuch Atzmai has complied with the High Court’s ruling and combined the classes for the girls, but after the Ashkenazi girls left, the funding was halted and the pirate school established. “After all we are not in charge of the parents in Emanuel and one may educate one’s children as one sees fit”, he concluded.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)