Thursday, January 03, 2013

Belgian Court Orders 2 Boys Admitted To Orthodox Jewish Girls' School

YNet News and JTA have both reported recently on an unusual Dec. 21 ruling by a court in Antwerp, Belgium ordering an Orthodox Jewish school for girls affiliated with the Belz Hasidic movement to admit two boys to study there. No Jewish school wanted to admit the students because their father, Moshe Friedman, was formerly a member of the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish group that believes Jews are to have their own state only when the messiah comes. In 2006, Friedman attended a Holocaust denial conference in Iran and was photographed kissing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  So Friedman latched onto a recent Belgian court decision barring gender discrimination in schools that receive government funding, as most Jewish schools in Belgium do. The court ordered his sons, age 7 and 11, admitted to Bnos Yerushalayim school even though the school claimed that Orthodox Judaism requires separation between boys and girls in schools and argued that there are no male students, teachers or boy's bathrooms in the school. Under the court ruling, which is temporary until a determination is made as to where the boys will attend next school year, the school must pay a fine equivalent to $2600 (US) for each day the boys are not admitted. The school will likely appeal the decision.