Haredi schoolgirls (file)
Haredi schoolgirls (file)Flash90

The State says that if a particular suit against if goes through, it will sue hareidi parents and yeshivot in turn.

The story is that 52 ex-hareidim have submitted a lawsuit against the State of Israel for the fact that they did not learn mathematics and English in their hareidi elementary schools, thus allegedly harming their ability to find work.

The State has now submitted its defense, the bottom line of which is this: "If the suit against us is accepted, we in turn will sue the parents and the schools."

The State's defense states, "The plaintiffs studied in schools chosen by themselves and their parents, and if they believe that their studies there caused them damage, it could have been expected that they would direct their complaints towards their parents or their schools."

The State acknowledges that the level of studies in haredi schools in comparison to public schools is relatively low, but that this is due to the preferences of the haredi public.

It would seem that the suit has no basis in fact, given the top scores of haredim who take rushed courses in math and English. As reported here a number of years ago, "A class of 30 haredi men scored overwhelmingly better than the national average on a recent psychometric exam - despite, or because of, their lack of general studies schooling."

In September 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that haredi high schools need not teach core secular subjects. The plaintiffs had claimed that the situation "harms the ability of haredi students to integrate in society and the work force, and thus harms their constitutional rights to dignity and freedom of occupation." The hareidi schools thus continued to receive (only) 60% of the national budgetary allocations that other schools receive.

An organization formed to help people leave haredi society and practice, Yotz'im L'Shinui (Setting Out to Change), claims that the State is shaking off its responsibility like a "third-rate insurance company."

"On the one hand," the organization says, the State "claims that the students received a creditable education, but on the other hand it asks the courts to view the yeshivot as responsible for the negative situation. It also attempts to place the responsibility on the parents for sending their children to legal and state-funded institutions."