web analytics
September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Imprisoning Emmanuel Parents Is Morally Absurd


The issue in the girl’s school controversy in Emmanuel is not about ethnic discrimination but about differences between religious groups. The school’s educational policies are based on the level of observance, not ethnic background.

“Ashkenazi” and “Sephardi,” in this case, are euphemisms for more strict and less strict.

This is not about racism and civil rights and bigotry, as some have darkly suggested. Nor is about “rule of law,” since setting rules and standards is up to the school and applies to all, regardless of ethnic background.

Israel’s Supreme Court has misunderstood the issue and turned a local dispute into political power struggle over who controls a community educational system and determines its policy. Imprisoning parents who refuse to follow the court’s decisions is not only extreme, it’s hardly intelligent. If they still refuse to submit after serving time, will they be kept in jail until they do? This is legally and morally absurd.

Such actions by the state, its courts and police, will not solve the problem and will further alienate large numbers of Israeli citizens. Prejudice is a social problem, but this is a case of discrimination over social and religious, not educational, issues. By making it a legal issue, and criminalizing its practice, the court insists on attacking the beliefs of a significant sector of the population. Since none of the justices are haredi, or know much about this community, and some of them have biases against the community, it’s doubtful they understand the haredi world.

This is a law-abiding, strictly observant Jewish population that sets its own standards and rules, especially those concerning social and educational issues – and in a democracy, they have that right. Rejecting an Israeli culture dominated by materialism, sexuality and pornography, they seek to create barriers to prevent the erosion of their values and beliefs.

The matter is more complicated because the “discrimination” of which they are accused does not seem to be based on ethnicity, since many of the students in the school are Sephardi. Moreover, in some cases, discrimination is not only appropriate, it’s obligatory.

One may question the basis for making judgments, but hardly the right of individuals, especially parents, to make decisions they believe are in their own and their children’s best interests.

School administrators need to make decisions about policies as well as curriculum, because schools are not only educational but also social institutions. Children learn more in school than what teachers offer and classrooms maintain.

Failure to appreciate the importance of schools to these communities and to respect legitimate distinctions parents and school administrators make shows a certain arrogance and ignorance – as well as a lack of tact.

The question raised by this controversy is whether parents and educators have the right to decide what goes on in their school. The court’s action is unfortunate because, by deliberately polarizing the issue, the justices have impeded a meaningful and creative solution. It further alienates haredi Jews from the state and a national ethos, it alienates non-haredi and non-observant Jews from those who are haredi by stigmatizing them as “racist,” and it tears our delicate social fabric.

The haredi community is not the enemy; it is an integral and important part of the Jewish people. Haredim are Israeli citizens and critical to our future as a state and a society. Treating them recklessly, with koach rather than moach, hurts our collective national interests.

By asserting their power rather than their understanding, the justices have damaged the Supreme Court’s own reputation. They may win this battle, and force the parents to opt out of the system, but they will lose the more important struggle for social cohesion and Zionism.

A government that imprisons its own population in order to survive loses its legitimacy.

About the Author: Moshe Dann is a writer living in Jerusalem.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Imprisoning Emmanuel Parents Is Morally Absurd”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Former PM Ehud Olmert at Tel Aviv District Court hears his sentence on May 13, 2014. (archive)
Ehud Olmert’s ‘Talansky Affair’ Re-Opens in Jerusalem District Court
Latest Indepth Stories
0.5-Shekel-hatasham-RJP

The War projects to lower Israel’s 2014 GDP 0.5% but will have little influence on foreign investors

The_United_Nations_Building

It is in the nature of the Nations of the World to be hostile towards the Jewish People.

champions

Hamas and Islamic Jihad are actually fighting to “liberate Jerusalem and all Palestine.”

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz reviewing maps on the Golan Heights.

The bad news is that ISIS and Al Qaeda are on the Syrian Golan. The good news is that every terrorist in Syria is killing each other.

The congregants, Ethiopians spanning generations, were beaming with joy and pride.

The withdrawal from the Gaza Strip nine years ago did not enhance Israel’s security.

How does a soldier from a religious home fall in love with a soldier from a non- religious kibbutz?

In 19th century entire ancient Jewish communities fled Palestine to escape brutal Muslim authorities

Responsibility lies with both the UN and Hamas, and better commitments should have been demanded from both parties in the ceasefire.

But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.

If this is how we play the game, we will lose. By that I mean we will lose everything.

Reportedly, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have formed a bloc that seeks to counter Islamist influence in the Middle East.

One wonders how the IDF could be expected to so quickly determine the facts.

While there is no formula that will work for everyone, there are some strategies that if followed carefully and consistently can help our children – and us – gain the most from the upcoming school year.

More Articles from Moshe Dann
David_Grossman

Blaming Israel for the violence in Gaza, he ends up justifying Hamas’s terrorism.

Shiloh, an early capital of Biblical Israel.

The sovereignty of the Jewish people in Eretz Yisrael is not only a political act but also a moral and spiritual one.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

The expulsion of 10,000 Jews from their homes five years ago was not a localized event in the Gaza Strip. It was a national implosion, a national disgrace. It caused enormous physical, psychological, social, cultural, military and strategic damage to the entire nation – and it still does. Like an ecological disaster, its foulness still seeps through our foundations, and continues to poison us.

Readers of Clayton’s short stories know that he is not only a master craftsman, but that his stories are inquires into the purpose of life; he is a moral philosopher.

In case you didn’t notice, olive trees in Judea and Samaria are under attack. The alleged culprits are Jews living there. UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry called it “terrorism.”

Supporters of the planned mosque and Islamic center near Manhattan’s Ground Zero have focused on the issue of religious freedom. But as thousands of mosques have already been built throughout America, this is false – a straw man if ever there was one.

The issue in the girl’s school controversy in Emmanuel is not about ethnic discrimination but about differences between religious groups. The school’s educational policies are based on the level of observance, not ethnic background.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/imprisoning-emmanuel-parents-is-morally-absurd/2010/06/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: