What follows are three generally positive views of yesterday's Supreme Court ruling forcing desegregation of a haredi school in Immanuel, reprinted from Israeli print newspapers. The post above this has two views supportive of haredi segregation.
All translations are by Didi Remez of Coteret.com.
High Court of Justice Restores Faith in DemocracyBy Yossi Beilin • Israel Hayom (p. 3)
We can fulminate about the racism shown by the Ashkenazi Haredim, and not understand how this can be happening here and now in our midst. The prime minister is entitled, in the best case scenario, to weep into his handkerchief, the MKs can release innumerable angry statements to the press and vote ultimately in keeping with the dictates of faction and coalition discipline, whereas the judges are free to decide and they are subordinate solely to the law. Two rulings by the High Court of Justice in the past two days have restored to many people in this country their faith in Israeli democracy and its institutions.
Paying a stipend to yeshiva students is, without doubt, a disgrace—it teaches indolence, it is an unconscionable blow to the presumption of equality and is severely debilitating for the Israeli economy. We all knew that, on the Right and Left, and none of us had the strength to put an end to it. We spoke, we demonstrated, we introduced motions, but no government had the courage to grab the bull by the horns. Even the party that was established solely to fight against the privileges enjoyed by the Haredim found itself voting against its own platform, with the coalition it had joined. The High Court of Justice came along, waited ten years, and changed the fundamental order of things.
The same applies to Immanuel. We all know what is happening before our very eyes. It is no coincidence that there is a Sephardic Haredi party in the Knesset—which was formed solely to countermand the Haredi racism, but it failed to stamp out that racism. It received extensive resources that were allocated to its schools, it developed a racist policy of its own, against the Arabs, assumed positions that were more hawkish than right wing parties professed, but it failed entirely in its efforts to stamp out the anti-Sephardic Haredi racism that reared its ugly head in full force in Immanuel.
Along came the High Court of Justice, which has been so reviled by the Right and the religious, and it did the decision-makers’ work for them. We now need to take our hats off to them for agreeing to make a decision in that enormous void that was created by generations of so-called “decision-makers.”
Shut Down Their Funding
By Dan Margalit • Israel Hayom (p. 1)
After a substantial delay, though perhaps better late than never at all, Supreme Court Justices Edmond Levy, Dorit Beinish and Hanan Meltzer pointed the way for the Ashkenazi parents from Immanuel to go to prison.
The distant settlement in the heart of Samaria, which had actually had a few years of relative economic prosperity, became what the forgotten down of Little Rock was for the United States when President Dwight Eisenhower sent in the National Guard to enforce the court ruling banning apartheid directed against black-skinned people.
The heart refuses to believe that there are such wicked, heartless, obtuse people who are capable of uttering at any given moment “love thy neighbor unto thyself” and all other lofty rules that appear in abundance in the Jewish tradition, and to humiliate and insult and trample underfoot the honor of neighboring girls just because they were born to a mother and father from a different community. Not from a different people, just a community.
Time does not heal the pain. As someone who remembers the leader of the Wadi Salib riots in Haifa in 1959, Ben-Harush, and as someone who has met with him on numerous occasions long after the tempest was over—I know very well that the sense of humiliation never goes away. It is only concealed, but it continues to pound away in the heart.
Now begins the test of the rule of law. Now Education Minister Gidon Saar and Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich are facing a decision which, along with the timing of their action, will attest to the nature of the government. We must not stumble. We must not blink. We must not wait for the decisions of the rabbis, the Halachic rulers, and the court rebbes in Bnei Brak, because, as Justice Levy noted, their consent and endorsement is not needed whatsoever. What is needed is an efficient, unequivocal execution of the court order in keeping with the law. [What is needed is] to shut down the funding and to employ the wise and restrained use of force, provided it is effective, as well as to shut our ears to the screams that will most certainly be cried in Yiddish of “gevalt.”
Heed Not Their Counsel
By Boaz Okon • Yedioth Ahronoth (p. 3)
There was no choice but to take the drastic step of imprisonment, and it will be necessary to persevere with it until the parents comply with the court rulings.
If they don’t, it will be even be necessary to consider their competence as parents. If the rabbis accompany them to jail, there will be grounds to also use against them the authority to arrest them for abetting the non-compliance with a court order. The response to the racism in Immanuel had to be strong, and the price for not complying with a court order must be even stronger so that it reverberates everywhere. This must not be treated lightly, since a lax attitude is liable to become a curse that will be recorded on the state’s tombstone.
The black flag was hoisted from the beginning, this time. The parents of the girl students adopted a path of open segregation based on origin or race, which is the most dangerous form of discrimination, and which has destructive implications for the forces that unite society. Such segregation is on the bad edge of the scale because it aspires to turn discrimination into a fact and a norm whereby people are divided and categorized based on ugly stereotypes and prejudices. Open segregation tries, in practice, to cast an unjust and revolting act as a normal thing. The Supreme Court stood in the breach and forbade the attempt to normalize such a perverted phenomenon.
The parents of the girls were not deterred. Perhaps this is not surprising. Discrimination in Israel toward foreign worker and Arabs serves as a hothouse for errant weeds and pockets of racism and apartheid are not all that rare. Discrimination toward Mizrahim is also not restricted to Immanuel and is prevalent not only among the religious. Even the predilection for disregarding court rulings, particularly those that defend minorities, is not their sole bastion. The government also sins in this, as can be seen from the report prepared by Yehudit Karp, who was deputy attorney general. This evil and ugly wind became a tailwind for the parents of the girls, who sang “heed not their counsel” and who do not realize that their counsel is the counsel of Haman the Wicked, which will destroy the state, and if we wish to live, we must heed it not.
This contempt for the Supreme Court ruling is not an act of protest or a pinpoint demonstration meant to express displeasure. The parents want, in an organized, crude and ongoing fashion, to upset the ruling. By letting them do so, we will cross the thin line between the civil resistance that is put up in good faith and deliberately shooting at the heart of democracy, with dirty hands, to borrow the headline from the play of Jean Paul Sartre about the relationship between duty and conscience [Les Mains Sales]. They don’t want to protest and pay the price, but rather to coerce the acceptance of their will. The attempt to use force against the law is analogous to terrorism, and it is liable to develop into a disease. The cure is liable to become impossible and, therefore, there is no room for compromise. Any sign of weakness will be as dangerous swinging on a tight wire and will drag us, like a raging horse, into the abyss of anarchy, where people will eat each other alive.