Protest in support of Emanuel parents
Protest in support of Emanuel parents Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Rabbinical Court appointed to mediate in the Emanuel-Slonim-Sephardic rift has washed its hands of the affair, thus erasing hopes of a compromise and an early release from prison for the 43 Slonim Hassidim fathers. The Court cited two reasons.

One is that the plaintiff, Yoav Lalum, who claimed that the Slonim school in Emanuel discriminated against Sephardim, refused to follow the court’s first ruling – namely, to withdraw the suit.

Secondly, the rabbinical court (Beit Din) stated that its second ruling was grossly misinterpreted. The second ruling stated that any future separation in Emanuel must be done only in accordance with rabbinical rulings; the Beit Din stated that the media had misinterpreted this as if it represented agreement with the Supreme Court ruling on the matter – when in fact, the rabbinical arbitrators’ panel stated, such a conclusion “is in direct opposition to all the Torah giants, who said that there is no ethnic discrimination.”

The Slonim Hassidic community has maintained all along that there is no anti-Sephardic discrimination, and that in fact 27% of its students are Sephardic. The Slonimers say that they do close their schools to those whose religious observance is not on par with theirs; families with TV sets, for instance, are not allowed to send their children to the Slonim school – or to many other Hassidic schools, for that matter.

It had been hoped that the rabbinical court would quickly find a compromise, which would enable the 43 Slonim fathers of students in the Slonim girls’ school to be freed from prison and enable the mothers not to have to report to prison at all. The Supreme Court is to make a decision regarding the women tomorrow (Tuesday). One father who never reported to prison has been arrested by police; he says he is a single parent with a sick child.

The Rabbinical Court (Beit Din) stated on Monday morning: “Since Mr. Lalum did not adhere to the Beit Din’s order of yesterday to withdraw his petitions and claims from the general court, setting various conditions that the Beit Din did not agree to, and because the Beit Din’s ruling was abused in the media – therefore the Beit Din sees this as a violation of its decision, and the session that had been set for today is canceled.”