Rabbi Yaakov Ariel with students in the class
Rabbi Yaakov Ariel with students in the classCourtesy of the photographer

Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, a former chief rabbi of the city of Ramat Gan and a senior rabbi in the Religious-Zionist movement, has thanked the government supervisor of state-religious schools within the Education Ministry for the decision to remove the "transgender-boy," a girl who has been dressed as a boy for years, from her school in Givat Shmuel.

The story of the "trans-boy" first broke at the start of the current academic year, when parents of children in the class were shocked to discover that among the third-grade boys was one who had been born a girl and nonetheless had been coming to school dressed in a yarmulka and tzitzit for years. Furthermore, even the teachers had been unaware that the child now being referred to as a "trans-boy" was in fact a girl. The principal of the school had known for several years but elected to keep the knowledge to herself; in addition, officials within the Education Ministry in the department dealing with state-religious education also knew about the child, and kept the matter secret.

Appeals to address the issue fell on deaf ears for months, while the municipality refused to approve the requests of parents of other children in the class to transfer their sons to other local schools. Finally, after the Hanukkah recess, most of the boys in the class were withdrawn by their parents and enrolled in a new, privately run class held off the school premises. Funds were raised to pay the teachers and many prominent rabbis visited to teach classes of their own.

Now, following the Ministry's decision to remove the girl from the boys' class, Rabbi Ariel has requested that the private class not be immediately dispersed, as it will likely take some time for the decision to be implemented and the parents refuse to return their sons to their regular class until the "trans-boy" is removed. Meanwhile, the child's family has announced that they will be appealing the decision which was "taken without our agreement or cooperation."