An 8-year-old political-legal saga has ended, with a court decision on Sunday forcing the Education Ministry to reinstate a teacher who criticized Yitzchak Rabin and the "Rabin Legacy."

The Jerusalem District Court ruled on Sunday that a previous Education Ministry decision not to allow the teacher, Yisrael Shiran, to teach is null and void.

The story began in October 2000, a few weeks after Palestinian Authority terrorists began the Oslo War, when Shiran circulated a letter calling for a change in the upcoming commemorations of the 5th anniversary of Rabin's assassination.  He wrote that because Rabin was the chief authority responsible for the situation in which Israel found itself, and had caved in and given weapons to the enemy, "the Education Ministry must stop commemorating the so-called 'Rabin Peace Legacy.'"

Shiran concluded, "We will under no circumstances agree that a man who gave war materials to the enemy that stands upon us to destroy us should be one about whose legacy, path and character we must commemorate." Shiran condemned the actual murder, writing that his call comes "despite the great shock at the very act of the repulsive murder, which should be discussed and condemned!"

With the encouragement of then-Tourism Minister Yuli Tamir - a former Peace Now founder who currently serves as Education Minister,  Shiran was immediately suspended from the school in which he taught.  However, he turned to the courts, where he was ultimately vindicated and awarded compensation from the Education Ministry.

Another Round, A Year Ago

A year ago, once again the Education Ministry - and specifically, the head of the Haifa District, Aharon Zebeida - informed the Parents Association of the Moriah Barkai School in Haifa that it could not employ Shiran as a teacher in its school.

The parents and Shiran promptly filed suit, and District Court Judge David Heshin handed down his ruling yesterday, once again exonerating Shiran. The judge also ordered the Education Ministry to allow Shiran to work, and to pay Shiran 30,000 shekels in damages plus legal costs. 

Most significantly, Heshin implied that the only reason Zebeida sought to prevent Shiran from working was his resentment at Shiran's earlier court victories over him.

"It is hard to avoid the conclusion," Judge Heshin wrote, "that the true reason for the refusal to employ Shiran is connected with the 'Rabin story' [of 2000]."

Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, who represented Shiran and the parents, summed up as follows:

"This is a clear victory of individual rights over the narrrow political interests of powerful figures in the Education Ministry.  This courageous legal ruling prevents the top Education Ministry officials from persecuting a person and harming his dignity and ability to earn a living because of his beliefs.  The court also showed that Yuli Tamir, who started this witch hunt [nearly eight] years ago and backed the Education Ministry's decisions, can no longer continue her policy of silencing [those with whom she does not agree]."