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Shas MK declares war on anti-Sephardic discrimination

MK Margi calls to set up investigations into schools that refuse to admit Sephardic girls and fire recalcitrant principals.

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Gary Willig,

MK Yaakov Margi
MK Yaakov Margi
Flash 90

Chairman of the Knesset Education Committee, MK Yaakov Margi (Shas), declared yet another battle against school principals who refuse to admit girls of Sephardic (non-European) origin.

During a special session convened Wednesday morning, Education Ministry's Director of Haredi education Itzik Zehavi spoke of schools which still refused to admit Sephardic girls despite having their funding cut in response. Margi asked Zehavi if there was anyone whose job it was to investigate the employment of haredi schools that discriminate against Sephardic girls.

Margi said that he knows that he is opening a "new front" and will be "stepping on toes," but the good of the girls requires him to have the Ministry of Education investigate claims of discrimination and, if necessary, terminate the employment of principals who refuse to comply. These investigations, Magi said, would "get to the underbelly of" discriminatory and other illegal practices in Haredi schools.

Discrimination against Sephardic girls in Ashkenazic haredi schools has made headlines over the past few years. Some schools have been reported to have quotas of the number of Sephardic girls they are willing to admit.

In 2014, a haredi school in the town of Elad was closed after it accepted all Ashkenazic applicants but only 5 out of 93 Sephardic applicants.

Margi has been an outspoken critic of the discrimination against Sephardic girls. Last month he threatened to cut funding for schools which carry out such discriminatory practices, raising the ire of the Ashkenazi haredi political parties.