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July 28, 2014 | 1st Av 5774

Rabbi Yoffie Urges Israeli Government to Uphold Anti-Discrimination Ruling

 Contact: Deborah Goldberg
212.650.4153
dgoldberg@urj.org

New York, NY, June 17, 2010 - Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, praised the Supreme Court of Israel for its unequivocal condemnation of ethnic discrimination in an Israeli school in Emanuel, and called on the Government of Israel to enforce, vigorously and without delay, the Court's order to end the discrimination immediately.

"This is a moment of truth for the Government of Israel," Yoffie said.  "The Court has affirmed yet again the principle of equality before the law that is fundamental to Israel's democracy, and it is my hope that the Government will stand behind the ruling." 

Yoffie noted, "The Torah does not tolerate discrimination, and those who promote discrimination in the name of Jewish tradition are bringing the principles of Torah into disrepute and are undermining the Jewish foundations of the State."

At issue is the policy of an ultra-Orthodox elementary school in Emanuel that separated Ashkenazi and Sephardi girls and literally constructed a wall in the school to keep the two groups apart.  In its judgments, the Court has ruled that this was a clear case of ethnic discrimination and that the students have a right to study together.  Ashkenazi parents who refused to permit their daughters to study in the same classes with their Sephardi peers were given two-week jail sentences.  At the direction of their rabbis, tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox demonstrators took to the streets in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak to protest the sentences and to demand that their children be allowed to study separately.

Yoffie emphasized, "Any hesitation or compromise in carrying out the Court's order will undermine the rule of law in the Jewish state and will be a blow to all minorities that depend on the law for defense of their basic rights." 

"There is no reason why those who disagree should not express their views," Yoffie said, "but the clear intention of the demonstrators is to encourage their community to defy the rulings of the court."

According to Yoffie, "This is a time for Jews throughout the world - including religious Jews of all denominations - to demand respect for the law in the State of Israel and for an end to ethnic and racial discrimination that is abhorrent to our religious principles."

 

Comments

Liz Ornstein, Ph.D.

June 18, 2010
02:32 PM

NA Board Trustee

Yet again a reason to feel incredibly grateful for our Union and its leadership! I was literally sickened when I read the details of the attempts at segregation and to know that the URJ has jumped on this and urged, in the strongest terms, the government of Israel to enforce the ruling of its Supreme Court on this matter fills me with pride.

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