As you read this article from Ynet, keep the following in mind:
- The school rejecting the toddler because he has Sefardic blood is haredi.
- There is a long history of haredi schools in general, not just this one haredi school in particular, banning students of Sefardic or partially-Sefardic descent. (This is not true of Chabad schools.)
- The child's mother, who is 1/2 Sefardic, pleaded with the school to let her 4 1/2 year old child in. She did so by assuring the school that the child is Ashkenazi in every way except for 1/4 of his blood, and that the child is Yiddish-speaking.
- The rejection of the child is purely based on ethnicity.
- Even though some in the haredi leadership (like Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv) are said to be opposed to this type of bigotry, the bigotry is itself still common in haredi society, even in the second tier of haredi leadership, largely because haredi leaders have not attached any penalties for being and anti-Sefardic bigot or for supporting anti-Sefardic bigotry. You can wear a white sheet and hood and still be in the good graces of haredi leadership.
- Israel does not enforce its anti-discrimination laws.
- Nothing will change until either haredi leadership penalizes haredi anti-Sefardic bigots or Israel Israel makes a concerted effort to enforce the law.
- Because neither is likely to happen soon, haredi anti-Sefardic bigotry will continue unabated.
Anyone who thinks that racist rules are a thing of the past is wrong, according to the mother of a four-and-a-half year old child who was rejected from a Talmud Torah school because of his grandfather’s ethnicity.
“They are alive and kicking in all their ugliness in Ashkenazi haredi educational institutions,” the mother said.
The child was denied admission to a Talmlud Torah school in Beit Shemesh because of what its principal called a “stain” in his genealogy.
“Tell the child’s dear father that although he himself is completely Ashkenazi, his wife’s father is Sephardic, and we therefore cannot accept his son into our institution. We have to maintain a certain standard,” the principal said.…
“I begged the principal. I explained that my child is truly Ashkenazi and looks exactly like his father. Our son also speaks Yiddish, but nothing helped,” the mother said. “They explained to a friend of ours that they didn’t want to ruin their Talmud Torah with ‘damaged goods’.”
The Talmud Torah school had previously given the same explanation to several other frustrated parents who petitioned MK Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism) for help.
The Knesset member tried several times to convince the principal to allow the rejected children admission to the school, but the principal insisted there was “no room” in the institution.
“This is a complicated problem. I don’t deal with condemning these things, just like I don’t condemn kibbutzim, which sometimes select who to accept as a member. There are communities that wish to be strict about their religion or social character. It’s not simple,” Porush said.
The school’s principal, who had previously said he only wanted “100% Ashkenazim” at his institution, told Yedioth Ahronoth he had no idea how many, if any, Sephardic children were enrolled in the school.…
[Hat Tip: The Beadle.]