The government wants to force numerous unregistered yeshivot ketanot to become legal.
It is estimated that more than 1,000 boys, aged 13-16, are educated in unregistered schools in the borough of Hackney, which includes the charedi area of Stamford Hill. Department of Education (DfE) data revealed that there were 1,735 girls, aged 11-15, in registered Jewish schools in the borough, but only 256 boys.
The DfE has now launched a consultation on measures to force unregistered schools out of the shadows. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has pledged £400,000 to Ofsted to facilitate the effort.
Rabbi Avrohom Pinter of Chinuch UK told The Jewish Press, “The government is planning to make all yeshiva ketanah settings beyond the law. This has very serious ramifications for the community…. This is a major concern to everyone who believes in the yeshiva system. That is where I was brought up and where I brought up my children and grandchildren and generations to follow. I don’t change my lifestyle for every government.”
Rabbi Pinter: Why Is Ofsted Always Attacking Us?
In light of excellent GCSE examination results, an outstanding religious inspection, and an improved Ofsted inspection, Rabbi Avrohom Pinter – principal of Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ School – is questioning the motives of Ofsted head Amanda Spielman. He argues that she “has an agenda against faith schools in general and Yesodey Hatorah in particular.”
The Stamford Hill girls’ school was number one among British Jewish schools in examination performance and 29th in the country. Pikuach rated the school outstanding in all areas. A recently published Ofsted report also found that the school was taking “effective action” following the school being downgraded to “inadequate” in 2018.
Rabbi Pinter told The Jewish Press, “It brings seriously into question if Ofsted has another agenda. Amanda Spielman attacks us the whole time.”
Jewish Community Loses Two Friends In Cabinet Reshuffle
Two staunch friends of the Jewish community were casualties of last week’s Cabinet reshuffle.
Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers, whom Shimon Cohen of Shechita UK described as “a great friend of our community,” has been replaced by George Eustice, who has advocated post-shechitah stunning and labeling un-stunned meat.
Cohen told the Jewish News, “Mr. Eustice has made no secret of his views on shechita and on Shechita UK.”
Last year, Eustice said in Parliament, “I do not believe that a post-cut stun would violate the religious beliefs of either the Halal Food Authority or Shechita UK.” But Cohen said post-cut stunning would not be in accordance with “the normative halachic position.”
Another friend of the Jewish community who suffered in the Cabinet reshuffle was Sajid Javid, who resigned from his post. In his short term as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Javid banned local authorities from boycotting Israel, pushed for a post-Brexit deal with Israel, put money into Holocaust education, added Hizbollah to the list of proscribed terror groups, and supported the proposed Holocaust memorial near Parliament.
Jewish-Backed Candidate Supports Anti-Israel Measures
The day after she was nominated for party leader by the Jewish Labour Movement, Labour Friends of Palestine chair Lisa Nandy backed the Palestine Solidarity Campaign pledges.
These include campaigning against British businesses profiting from West Bank settlements and supporting an embargo on arms deals with Israel and the Palestinian right of return. The pledges also suggest repealing the government’s anti-BDS legislation.
Meanwhile, fellow Labour leadership contender Sir Keir Starmer fell short of calling himself a Zionist at last week’s Jewish Labour Movement hustings, but talked of his family’s Jewish and Israeli connections.
He said, “I don’t know how many people know this – my parents’ family are Jewish and we have got extended family in Israel. I don’t describe myself as a Zionist, but I understand and I sympathize and I support Zionism.”
Odds and Ends
* A Jewish MP from Leeds has cancelled all public engagements for a week after learning that he had attended a conference at which a fellow attendee was diagnosed with the coronavirus.
Alex Sobel, who was at the UK Bus Summit in London on February 6, wrote on Twitter: “As a precaution we have cancelled all engagements until next Thursday when the 14-day potential incubation period will end.”
* Westminster Council has unanimously voted down proposals for a Holocaust Memorial next to Parliament. Objections to the plans came from Historic England, the International Council on Monuments and Sites and Royal Parks.
But Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick, who will have the final say, said, “The government remains implacably committed to the construction of the Holocaust Memorial and Education Centre right at the heart of our democracy, beside our national parliament to ensure that future generations never forget.”
* TalkRadio has been fined £75,000 by media regulator Ofcom for serious breaches after former Labour and Respect MP George Galloway said on his 2018 program that accusations that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was anti-Semitic amounted to “literally summoning up the demons of Nazism against Britain’s finest anti-fascist.”