Father from Emanuel prepares to go to jail
Father from Emanuel prepares to go to jail Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Supreme Court is facing a petition against itself for the second time in one week. Residents of Emanuel have filed suit, arguing that the country's highest court jailed residents of the city despite lacking the authority to do so.

A similar suit was filed by the Israel Law Center, which filed a writ against the Prison Service and the Israel Police for obeying the Supreme Court's allegedly illegal order. The Supreme Court turned down the suit.

Dozens of parents from Emanuel were jailed last week after refusing to send their daughters to a school in which a Hassidic track had been integrated – by court order – with the rest of the school. The parents argued that the integrated track would expose their daughters to influences not suited to their Hassidic lifestyle.

The Supreme Court accused the parents of racism against Sephardi Jews, despite the fact that several of the parents were themselves Sephardi, and held them in contempt for failing to uphold the order to integrate. The fathers of girls from the Hassidic track were ordered jailed for three weeks, as were several mothers.

According to the prisoners, represented by Attorney Aviad Visoli, the court had no right to send them to jail, in that the Supreme Court is authorized to issue orders only against government bodies, and not private citizens. “The mass arrest of the plaintiffs, together with the other parents, is grave and unprecedented... As it is now clear that this arrest was illegal, it would be appropriate to act quickly and release the plaintiffs at once. The honorable court is therefore requested to hold an immediate session regarding this plea, and to order that the plaintiffs be released from this obviously illegal detention,” he stated in the petition.

Visoli accused the court of refusing to listen to previous pleas, and holding sessions regarding appeals against the mass detention of parents behind closed doors. During sessions that were made public, the parents and their attorneys were not given time to speak, he said.