R’ Yaakov Yosef to Arbitrate Emanuel Beis Yaakov Case


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)


  1. this is so sad. and we daven for mashiach? stupid, stupid, stupid!!!! love your neighbor as you love yourself, if you think sphardim are less frum, educate them yourself, it’s your responsibility. if you don’t then don’t ostracize them!!!!!!!! this is so sad. i just can’t get over it. i myself am told to hush up the fact that i come from geirim who adopted the sphardi minhagim although i’m ashkenazi, just b/c it might get me looked at wrong. disgusting!!!!

  2. I live in Emanuel

    Please read my letters posted on this topic under the previous artciles on Beis Yaakoc Chasidi here on YWN.

    30% of the girls in Beis Yaakov Chasidi Emanuel are Sephardic. These girls also left the original school when they were orderd to return to the origial classes.

    A large perentage of others have mixed heritage.

    I do not know how this media fabrication can keep continuing. Speak to people who live here. Come visit.

    The division was phiosophical, that is all.

  3. “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.”
    #1, why not believe these parents? You can love all Jews, but when it comes to one’s children’s chinuch, every parent has a right to choose a school where the student body is compatible with their lifestyle. It you see that many students in your child’s school act, dress or speak in ways you don’t approve of, you may switch them out for the sake of their chinuch. It is wrong to say that all students from a particular ethnic group are negative influences, but if you see in a particular school that most of the difficult ones come from a particular background, even though many others are refined and well-behaved, parents may choose to create a school with students who behave/dress/speak in ways they approve of.
    There are many schools for children of beginner baalei teshuva or that cater to particular groups (such as Russian Jews), gearing the chinuch to their needs and it is understood that this is necessary. It seems to me that this is the source of the difference in Emanuel as well. Sepharadim in Israel are usually traditional and respect religion and rabbanim. There are therefore more Sephardic baalei teshuva than Ashkenazi baalei teshuva (who largely come from secular, often leftist, anti-religious backgrounds). However, these Sepharadi baalei teshuva were not brought up with Torah chinuch and some of them have more chinuch issues with their children. Many of them keep in close contact with their very close-knit, warm and family-minded traditional families. Their children are thus exposed to things and lifestyles that affect them in many areas of behavior, mannerisms, dress, language, etc. This might be the case in Emanuel. A family member of mine teaches in a school with a large population of children with this type of background after having taught a number of years in a more standard Bais Yaakov; the behavior challenges are definitely much more difficult! The teacher did not create this difference. It is what it is. Some of these parents are also less accepting of guidance and suggestions to get outside help. It is not a matter of who is at fault; these parents might not have the money or support system to help them. It is wrong to stereotype – not ALL parents of ALL the students in this school have these problems – but it is far more rampant. And what the Emanuel parents object to (as quoted at the start of this comment) is the lifestyle, not the race. Solutions are not easy but no one wants their child to mimic this type of behavior / dress / language. Any ideas?

  4. # 3 rg- we are not falling for this nonsense.so stop wasting your time. ‘The division was philosophical, that is all.’ you say. i dont know what that means but what i do know is that all girls who learn in the famed beis yaakov system throughout the ages share the same philosophy .yeah right-you make it sound like the hanhala of the school doesn’t bother checking what kind of hashkafa is found in the home. utter nonsense.

  5. i am asking YWN EDITORS; would you be able to lay out the facts of the case?
    I’ve heard so much, yey have no idea what the simple facts are.
    Thank you.

  6. and if they have issues with the school, so they should switch out THEIR kids, not get a whole faction expelled and permanently barred!