A Belgian court has ordered a school in Antwerp to enroll the children of Moshe Aryeh Friedman, an Orthodox Jew ostracized for his anti-Zionist views.
The Antwerp court of appeals ruled last week that the Yesode Hatora School had no grounds to refuse to enroll six of the eight children of Friedman, a New York-born anti-Zionist activist who in 2006 attended a conference of Holocaust deniers organized by former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran.
Yesode Hatora School has male and female students, who study separately in accordance with the wishes of the vast majority of Antwerp’s Orthodox Jews. The school last year refused to enroll the children of the Friedman family, who have been declared persona non grata by some institutions of Antwerp’s Orthodox community
Freidman fought back in the courts and in effect threatened the Orthodox community’s relative autonomy in education while he violated the Jewish community’s principle of resolving conflicts internally without involving Belgian authorities.
Friedman registered two of his boys at the Benoth Jerusalem Public School for girls in December, after obtaining an injunction from a Belgian judge. Belgian law does not allow gender-segregated schools but in reality the practice is tolerated as long as it remains unchallenged.
The injunction has been since been lifted and the boys stopped attending the girls school, but Friedman has appealed the lifting of the injunction.
He told JTA he did not intend to withdraw his appeal until after all of his children find “the adequate educational framework they deserve.”