Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mother of All Protests

My views about the court case are similar to Rav Ovadia's.

My views in general about the topics involved can be found in the comments here and at this post.

I don't have much more to add, except that it's a very sad day all around.


At Thu Jun 17, 06:04:00 PM 2010, Anonymous Dove said...

Have we learned nothing from all the heartache we have endured as a people?
Isn't it enough to have the whole world against us and trying to destroy us?
We have to stay united if we want to survive.
How can we expect a Geula with Heavenly Mercy if parents would rather go to jail than to put their kids in school with Sefardic kids?
And on top of that demonstrations with hundreds of thousands of people in Bnei Brak in support of these parents, making them look like heroes.
What a sad day for Bnei Yisrael.
We have to put a stop to that kind of Sinat Chinam. That's what caused the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash and our exile to this very day.
This was a test from Ha-shem and once again we failed miserably.
I am afraid to think about what is going to happen next. Ha-shem Yerachem.

At Thu Jun 17, 06:39:00 PM 2010, Blogger yaak said...

Very much agreed.

My hope is that most were protesting against the Baga"tz's decision instead of in support of the parents' decision. It seemed that way from most of the signs held up, but who knows for sure?

At Thu Jun 17, 09:01:00 PM 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

may we agree to disagree, in brotherly/sisterly love and unity.

I think the above comments are totally off mark.

the way i was given to understand the situation is that the parents of the charedi girls insist that newcomers to their schools comply with the 'old' rules. e.g. rules regarding tzniut, shabbat, kashrut etc, etc.

it has nothing, NOTHING whatsoever, to do with integration, acceptence or
chulila, chulila, "discrimination".

At Thu Jun 17, 09:35:00 PM 2010, Anonymous Sfaradi said...

The case is very simple:

Only 30% of the school girls can be of Sepharadic origin. It has nothing to do with any Halachic mitzva, pure discrimination with very nice names.

We had a big protest today in favor of Ashkenazi discrimination, whether we like it or not. Some of the protesters were Sepharadic yeshiva boys, who still try to understand what they were doing there.

There are many beautiful things in the world of Torah. This is not one of them. IMHO.

At Thu Jun 17, 11:43:00 PM 2010, Anonymous arita430 said...

Actually I would like to correct the discrimination issue. It was not between Sefardim and Ashkenazim. it was between Chassidim and non-Chassidim. A large political issue in EY, In fact this issue on the Chinuch Azmai goes back quite far. If you read the history of the situation, (which i actually found all on the internet), this was the reason why Degel Hatorah was formed, and for good reason. Unfortunately like most Machlokesim and anguish in Klal Yisroel this issue was because of money. Obviously I have a lot more to say, maybe if I get a chance I’ll send you links, most I found (Believe or not) on Wikipedia! I personally believe that the situation spells out the Mishneh in Sotah about Batei Medrashim for Zinus, that for money people will sell their Rabbi! (vs “selling your mother”) Hamevin Yavin. PS. R' Aryeh Deri had a good idea which was mentioned in YWN which I cant figure why nothing like this idea was implemented yet, except for the above reason. Also see my comment there. Thanks for the Great Blog!

At Fri Jun 18, 12:49:00 AM 2010, Blogger yaak said...

Anonymous, how I wish what you're saying is true - I just don't buy it. There's too much history of discrimination against Sephardic students to say that this was purely tzeniutly motivated. True, there are some Sephardic students in the school (27% I believe) - but why not more? On the other hand, this should have never been brought to secular courts, and the plaintiffs erred in doing so. Now, the court has acted foolishly and cruelly.

Sfaradi, it's not so simple - but if that is the reason for the protest, I agree with you on that point. Like I said earlier, I hope they were protesting the Supreme Court's involvement in this.

arita430, thank you for your comment, and I realize there's a lot of history between Aguda and Degel. However, here, Slonimer Hasidim are the ones pushing this, and the Lithuanian Gedolim are themselves involved in the protest too. All Ashkenazi Hareidi Gedolim said to go. There was no greater Ashkenazi Hareidi Ahdut than we saw yesterday. Unfortunately, it was at the expense of the Sepharadim.

This Matzav article is about a Shas-party MK, Yaakov Margi:

"Margi, who called the affair a “tragedy,” said “I call (on the religious-Sephardic public) not to take part in the rally tomorrow and continue to live in harmony with the Ashkenazim.”

At Fri Jun 18, 04:42:00 AM 2010, Anonymous Moshe said...

I don't believe at all that this was an anti-Bagatz (anti-Supreme Court)
Rather this was a pure and simple "Keep your Sefardic Children away from our Schools" protest.
I can see that "The Good Old Boys Club" is alive and kicking in Eretz Yisrael.

At Fri Jun 18, 08:27:00 AM 2010, Anonymous Gedaliah said...

It's time for affirmative action and anti-discrimination laws in Israel.
This is especially true in the Haredi sector where discrimination is the Law of the Land.
And only after that will the Moshiach come.

At Fri Jun 18, 09:27:00 AM 2010, Anonymous Saidou said...

As a Sefardic Jew, I am very offended by the anti-Sefardic rally in Bnei Brak yesterday.
I think we should have anti-Ashkenazic rallies in Beer Sheva, Ashdod, Yeruham, Netivot, Ofakim, and Dimona.

At Fri Jun 18, 09:37:00 AM 2010, Blogger yaak said...

Saidou, I hear your frustration, but that's absolutely the wrong response.
The key to resolving this is dialog.

At Fri Jun 18, 09:38:00 AM 2010, Anonymous Devorah said...

We must be very careful.
This racist incident is like a ticking time bomb.
It has the potential of leading to a Sefardic-Ashkenazic war inside Israel.
This might be the war Rav Berland was talking about on the 22nd of Av.

At Fri Jun 18, 09:59:00 AM 2010, Anonymous Menachem Mendel said...

The government should try to improve the living conditions of the Sefardic Jews instead of improving the living conditions of the arabs in Gaza.
The Sefardic Jews have been trampled upon long enough. It's time to give them a helping hand.
Enough is Enough.

At Fri Jun 18, 10:11:00 AM 2010, Anonymous Machlouf said...

I am a respected member of the Moroccon community in Yeruham.
And I can tell you that the Sefardim there are tired of being treated like Schvarzes. Ever since arriving in Israel they have been pushed around.
As a matter of fact that is why Charlie Bitoun started the Black Panthers movement in Beer Sheva.
But after watching the anti-Sefardic rallies in Bnei Brak yesterday, I realized that nothing has really changed.

At Fri Jun 18, 10:27:00 AM 2010, Anonymous Soulika said...

I am a Sefardic woman from the Negev. I was wondering why the Sefardic leaders are not speaking out on this racist rally that took place in Bnei Brak yesterday.
How horrible.
If we don't have the guts to call a spade a spade, how can we expect the world to call a spade a spade with regard to the Gaza flotilla.
I am sorry but racism is racism, and Sefardic leaders have to find the guts to call it just that.

At Fri Jun 18, 10:56:00 AM 2010, Anonymous Habib Laziz said...

When we made Aliyah to Israel from Morocco 40 years ago, the Ashkenazim put us in the Maabara of Rouhama.
Today Rouhama is called Yeruham.
Well when we got to Rouhama, they told us that we were in Tel Aviv.
For the next five years my wife and I really believed that we were living in Tel Aviv. Well how would we have known that we were really in the Negev. We did not speak a word of Hebrew.
When we found out the truth we became stronger.
And that's what I think the Sefardim need to do today. Swallow their pride and try to be strong.

At Fri Jun 18, 11:12:00 AM 2010, Blogger yaak said...

Wow! All these Sepharadim coming out of the woodwork. Great to hear from you all!

Everyone, the last thing I want to do here is be a breeding ground for anti-Ashkenazi sentiment.

I'm convinced that the majority of those who rallied yesterday are not racists. They want to show their displeasure with the Supreme Court's meddling in religious affairs and prove that we follow the Torah and our rabbis over the Supreme Court - an idea I agree with.

Nevertheless, discrimination in the schools is a problem and has been for a long time. If it takes rallies by Hareidi Ashkenazim to put it in the public spotlight, then the rally yesterday was ironically a success.

There were some Sepharadim at the rally yesterday too (besides some of the parents involved). Rav Moshe Ben Moshe from Netanya rallied against the court's ruling. Rav Batzri said that there is no discrimination and never was there any by Hareidim. Such a claim is strange to say the least, but I will admit that the Hilonim were and are 1000 times worse. On the other hand, it's unlikely to see too many Sepharadi Hareidim there for obvious reasons. Even if you claim that there was no discrimination in this case at all, the perception of those observing the rally-goers is that you are a racist if you go.

So I'm not here to call the entire rally yesterday racist. It only looked the part. I say that now that a spotlight has been put on the issue, we need dialog to work out the problems.

At Fri Jun 18, 12:29:00 PM 2010, Blogger yaak said...

I may have been duped.
I have reason to believe that many of the "people" who commented is really the same person using different aliases. If this is the case, I warn you to stop immediately.

At Fri Jun 18, 01:12:00 PM 2010, Blogger joshwaxman said...

yeah; it does seem that this is indeed one person with multiple aliases.

do you know if the Bet Din has the ability to deal with charges of discrimination, in denying sefardim into one track while allowing them into the other? is there some halachic argument such they they would enforce this? (especially when the other side will claim it as a matter of frumkeit?) if not, i don't see how there was any way of dealing with discrimination other than going to the secular courts, or else keeping it internal and accepting the discrimation...


At Fri Jun 18, 01:26:00 PM 2010, Blogger yaak said...

Even before going to a Beit Din, they should try working it out themselves. If that doesn't work, use a mediator. If that doesn't work, go to Beit Din. A Beit Din will first try a peshara before actually deciding any case, so it can't hurt to go to Beit Din.

At Fri Jun 18, 01:42:00 PM 2010, Blogger joshwaxman said...

perhaps i am jaded, but i don't see the school agreeing to mediation or a peshara when they hold all the cards.

and once the bet din rules against the sefardim on pure halacha, they would be in deeper water, culturally, for *ignoring* the psak of a bet din and bringing it to secular courts.

(i am an outlier in my position, i think. i feel like i don't know enough about the situation to know if it was discrimination or not, but agree with the state's decision to jail for contempt of court -- because the massive protest that resulted from the decision demonstrates that they were right in seeing that contempt.)


At Fri Jun 18, 01:50:00 PM 2010, Blogger joshwaxman said...

i've seen the fact that 30% of the school consists of Sefardic girls brought as evidence that this is a frumkeit issue, rather than a racist issue.

i would counter that the number, 30%, is an indication otherwise, given that thirty percent is the "magic number" for an unspoken quota system. to cite a haaretz article:
"In Jerusalem, three of the movement's seminaries employ a quota system - Haseminar Hayashan, the oldest, whose principal is Benyamin Scharansky;
Haseminar Hehadash, under Rabbi Yeshayahu Lieberman, where in addition to the regular syllabus, secular subjects like architectural drawing and
computer studies are taught; and Darkei Rachel, under Rabbi Yehezkel Mendelssohn.

An ACRI investigation found that these three schools, to retain their exclusivity, take pains to see that no more than 30 percent of the incoming class are of Mizrahi origin because they are considered "inferior" candidates. Scores of girls seeking admission, most of them outstanding students, are left out, while less academically able Ashkenazi students are accepted. "

What do you think? Does the 30% Sefardim in the Ashkenazic section prove racism, or the opposite?


At Fri Jun 18, 01:52:00 PM 2010, Blogger yaak said...

The school doesn't hold all the cards - they want their name cleared.

I agree that there was contempt of court, but disagree that jailing the parents was the right thing to do here - it's actually a cruel, sedom-like thing to do. The court should have found some other solution like I've seen on other sites, such as R' Aryeh Deri's solution. Jailing the parents will solve nothing. Now, the children will be without their parents for 2 weeks. And furthermore, what right does a court have to force parents where to send their children?! Very bizzarre and cruel.

At Fri Jun 18, 01:53:00 PM 2010, Blogger yaak said...

I agree with you on your last point. I don't buy into R' Yaakov Menken's argument about the 30% - I think it proves a quota system.

At Fri Jun 18, 02:27:00 PM 2010, Blogger joshwaxman said...

"but disagree that jailing the parents was the right thing to do here - it's actually a cruel, sedom-like thing to do"
from what i heard, they had the option to petition the court to have the sentences served consecutively, rather than simultaneously. that they didn't, plus the sick PR things they are doing now -- see "Abba, Git Shabbos" at Vos Iz Neias tells me that they are playing it up.

regardless of whether the court is right, i think that there is a problem in Israel in general of disregarding the rule of law, manifest for example elsewhere in the kidnapping of bodies, and rioting preemptively to prevent autopsy. in this case, they messed with the bulls and got the horns.


At Fri Jun 18, 02:38:00 PM 2010, Blogger joshwaxman said...

oops -- forgot the VIN link:

At Fri Jun 18, 02:44:00 PM 2010, Blogger yaak said...

I don't see what's so "sick" about the "Abba, Git Shabbos" posters at the prison.
They were treated unfairly and want to show that to the world. There's nothing wrong with that as far as I'm concerned.

As far as ignoring the rule of law, it does happen, but I wouldn't paint all Hareidim with such a broad brush. Anyways, this is totally different - they were making a political statement with ignoring the court's decision.

At Fri Jun 18, 03:15:00 PM 2010, Blogger joshwaxman said...

"Many children at the site bid their parents farewell in tears. At least 20 school girls were standing at the police compound, crying and calling out for their mothers. The girls’ fathers were hugging them and attempting to calm them down.
The girls’ school principle was also on hand to reassure them. Some of the girls were asking whether they too will be taken away on buses."

this *crafted* situation makes me think that the parents are using their children as pawns, and themselves are not considering the impact on their children. makes it harder for me to fall for their PR stunt.

At Fri Jun 18, 03:31:00 PM 2010, Blogger yaak said...

Yes, you're right in saying that the parents have not thought this through and are perhaps harming their children psychologically because of it.
I'm not even sure if I should blame the parents as the Slonimer Rebbe pretty much told them what to do, but I dare not speak against him.
Nevertheless, I wouldn't call this a PR stunt on the parents' part. Maybe by some of the Hareidi media, or perhaps (in the case of the prison signs), by the school.

At Fri Jun 18, 06:04:00 PM 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Perhaps you have sources to the contrary. I have not been able to follow up today, but I noted two letters at Shilo Musings that mention that at least some Sepharadim joined the demonstration in Bene Beraq. They assert a quasi separate-but-equal scenario, based on religious grounds, which was acceptable to Sepharadim in Emanuel.

It is impossible to assess this case without a records review and we must take caution about interposing issues from other cases into this one. I refer to the case itself. The demonstration may represent achdut and I hope it does, or something more.

Shabbat shalom,


At Fri Jun 18, 06:20:00 PM 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It has been stated that in response to the court's ruling to integrate, haredi parents in Emanuel homeschooled their daughters. I am not versed in Israeli education law, but I am aware that homeschooling is a legal option generally. If the contempt charges derive from homeschooling rather than integrating, I can understand, technically speaking how these parents could be in contempt of the shofet's order. That may not make their actions illegal in the larger context, and it seems that this could trigger another round of litigation.

The shofet's decision to imprison these parents is horrendous. I cannot imagine that this was the only sanction available.


At Sat Jun 19, 01:28:00 PM 2010, Blogger Rafi G. said...

I am with Josh in that I don't know enough about the specific case to have an opinion if there was or was not discrimination.

That being said, discrimination in ashkenazy haredi schools is a given, exists and is part of nature, and no matter if they deny it i can tell you first hand stories of it existing.

That doesnt mean everything is discrimination.

And regardless of that, I think the Supreme Court went way too far with their judgement and decision to jail the parents..

At Sat Jun 19, 05:09:00 PM 2010, Anonymous Devasha said...

Now what if the Sephardi children at the school in Emanuel start asking their parents and their teachers questions as to why so many children are not coming to school anymore?
What do you answer these children?
THe racist parents have only thought about their own selfish motives for pulling their children out of the school, but they have not thought of the hurt they are causing others.

At Sat Jun 19, 05:31:00 PM 2010, Anonymous David said...

This is one of the rare instances where I agree with the Supreme Court's decision. It will give these racists time to ponder on what they have done and perhaps they will mend their ways. But I doubt they will change because of the support they have been getting from the Ashkenazi hareidi community.

At Sat Jun 19, 07:25:00 PM 2010, Anonymous arita430 said...

Hi I would like to take back what I said earlier. I spent a lot of time thinking about this story over the weekend and speaking to various people. I have come to the decision that this was a very large beautiful Kiddush Hashem with all Rabbanimin in agreement across the board, Dati, Mizrachi, Charedi, Separdi and Chassidish. There was absolutely no discrimination involved in the case. These cases happen all the time in EY because unfortunately there are Liberal minded parent (supposedly Frum) that like to try to shake things up like this guy Yoav. As we know the parents were given a choice, they took Prison as a Martarism to create a stronger unified front. Hopefully now that the courts see such a unified standing for Torah values they will not mess with the Charedi system anymore.

At Sun Jun 20, 02:28:00 AM 2010, Blogger yaak said...

A few points:

1) To all those who told me that there's no discrimination or that you don't know enough to know if there's discrimination, you may be right, and I was wrong for judging too quickly as I too don't know enough. I want to be דן לכף זכות before I make a judgement here, so I take back my accusations. I hereby apologize to the parents and the school for judging them too quickly.

2) I still believe that the rally on Thursday was in bad taste (despite it being dubbed a קידוש השם by many) since it stepped on the feet of the Sepharadim who were genuinely discriminated against. Even if no discrimination existed in this case, more care should have been taken not to make this into a rally as it hurt the sensibilities of many.

3) You know something's wrong when you have Baba Baruch saying that the Ashkenazim "hate us" and when you have Rabbi Yaakov Yosef receiving death threats.

4) I reiterate my position that the court's decision to send the parents to jail was foolish, pointless, and outright cruel.

5) Rav Ovadia's Motza'ei Shabbat address:
In his weekly Saturday night class, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef declared his opposition to the petition by Sephardic families in Emanuel against the Beit Yaakov school in the town. Rabbi Yosef said that “anyone who brings cases to secular courts, which do not rule according to Torah law, will get what he deserves for raising a hand against the Torah. It is as if he cursed the Torah, and he will not receive a portion in the World to Come,” Rabbi Yosef was quoted as saying.

At Sun Jun 20, 03:23:00 AM 2010, Anonymous Yosef said...

Once again the Ashkenazim are intimidating and threatening the Sephardim who are claiming that this is a case a racism. Even Rabbi Yaakov Yosef chickened out after receiving death threats against his family.
Is that the way Bnei Torah should act, issuing death threats?
Baba Baruch was the only one with the guts to speak out the truth.
This is clearly a case of discrimination against the Sephardim. And if we deny this fact in this very public case, then cases like this will continue to occur over and over again as they have until now in the Haredi world.
The Sephardim must stand united and strong against this kind of discrimination. They must not be afraid.

At Sun Jun 20, 05:18:00 AM 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is an article that sheds some light on the whole dispute

At Tue Jun 22, 10:03:00 AM 2010, Blogger Cosmic X said...


Thanks for the link.

I have a lot to say about the subject but no time to say it! :)

At Wed Jun 23, 04:52:00 AM 2010, Anonymous Beit vegan said...

I still don't forgive rabbi O YOSEF for bringing in the OSLO agreements 16 years ago.


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