Rabbis on Emanuel: Withdraw the Lawsuit, Integrate the School

Arutz Sheva, Israel/June 20, 2010

A Jerusalem rabbinic court chosen to mediate between members of the Slonim hassidic sect in Emanuel and a lawyer who has filed suit against them ruled Sunday that the lawyer should withdraw his suit, and the parents should return their children to school.

The organization Noar K'Halacha, led by attorney Yoav Laloum, filed suit against parents from Emanuel for creating a separate, hassidic track within a local hareidi-religious school. The group accused the parents of discriminating against Sephardi girls. The parents, for their part, said the separate track was open to students of all ethnic backgrounds, but only if they agreed to fulfill its religious rules, which were more stringent than those in the rest of the school.

Laloum should withdraw his lawsuit immediately, the rabbinic court ruled. The parents, several of whom have gone to jail rather than integrate the school, should return their daughters to school, where all the girls will learn together in the one and a half weeks remaining in the school year, the ruling continued.

During the summer, parents of girls in both tracks can continue their efforts to reach a compromise, judges said.

Laloum's suit already made it to the Supreme Court, which ordered parents to integrate the two sects. When parents withdrew their daughters from school in protest they were sentenced to jail for contempt of court.

The court has agreed to jail only fathers for now, while mothers will face another hearing on Tuesday. A father who did not report to prison last week was arrested Sunday; his lawyers said he will protest the arrest on humanitarian grounds, as the man is a single father to an ill child.

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