Ultra-Orthodox Jews protest school ruling
JERUSALEM – Tens of thousands of black-clad ultra-Orthodox Jews staged mass demonstrations on Thursday to protest a Supreme Court ruling forcing the integration of a religious girls' school.
Protesters snarled traffic in Jerusalem and another large religious enclave, crowded onto balconies in city squares, and waved posters decrying the court's decision and proclaiming the supremacy of religious law.
There were a few small scuffles, and a police officer emerged from one of them holding his eye, apparently slightly injured.
It was one of the largest protests in Jerusalem's history, and a stark reminder of the ultra-Orthodox minority's refusal to accept the authority of the state.
Also, the throngs of devout Jews showed to which extent the ultra-Orthodox live by their own rules, some of them archaic, while wielding disproportionate power in the modern state of Israel.
Parents of European, or Ashkenazi,
descent at a girls' school in the West Bank settlement of Emanuel don't want their daughters to study with schoolgirls of Mideast and North African descent, known as Sephardim.
The Ashkenazi parents insist they aren't racist
, but want to keep the classrooms segregated, as they have been for years, arguing that the families of the Sephardi girls aren't religious enough.
Israel's Supreme Court rejected that argument, and ruled that the 43 sets of parents who have defied the integration efforts by keeping their daughters from school were to be jailed on Thursday for two weeks.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said about 100,000 people converged in downtown Jerusalem in support of the Ashkenazi parents. An additional 20,000 demonstrated in the central city of Bnei Brak. He said 10,000 police were deployed.
Most of the demonstrators were men wearing the long beards and heavy black clothing typical among ultra-Orthodox Jews. "The Supreme Court is fascist," said one poster.
Esther Bark, 50, who has seven daughters, said the issue is keeping the girls away from the temptations of the modern world. "To suddenly put them in an open-minded place is not good for them," she said.
Sephardi religious leaders have not publicly criticized the demonstration or the Ashkenazi parents' conduct.
Nissim Zeev, a lawmaker from the Orthodox Sephardic political party Shas, said the issue should have been settled by a rabbinical court and that the parents' prison sentence was "puzzling." He insisted the Sephardi girls had the right to choose to attend a mixed school
"Everyone wants to send their children to Ashkenazi schools," said another demonstrator, Zion Harounian, 62, a Sephardic father of nine. "The quality of the Ashkenazi schools is much higher. They are stronger politically, so they get more money."
Israel's ultra-Orthodox minority of some 650,000 Jews — just under 10 percent of the nation's population — is an insular community that has been known to riot over the state's intrusion into its affairs. They have been criticized for maintaining a separate, state-funded school system that focuses on religious studies.
First off, i'm not trying to fan the flames of hatred, or be a mufsid. Peace, love and understanding is probably what we should all be trying to see on Earth. Yet doesn't this whole thing ... stink?
The Sephardic Jews are the ones that have lived there, side-by-side with the Palestinian Arabs (as far as i know) but they have been historically looked down up by the European Ashkenazi.
And as far as not being a case of racism ... really? Years ago I read a story of an American Jew that went to Israel to live and married a Sephardic Jew. I just managed to find it again but i can't post links.
The marriage ceremony was held in the Sephardic Synagogue. The ceremony was simple but beautiful. Ziva and I were happy, but our marriage created serious problems. You see, Ziva is a Sephardic Jewess and I am an Ashkenazi Jew. For an Ashkenazi Jew to marry a Sephardic Jew is frowned upon in Israel by the ruling Ashkenazis. To understand why this is the case, you must realize the difference between the Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews.
The powerful Zionist propaganda machine has led the American people to believe that a Jew is a Jew — one race of people and that they are "God's Chosen People". I will deal with the "God's Chosen People" LIE later. First, it is important for you to understand that Jews are NOT one race of people.
There are two distinct groups of Jews in the world and they come from two different areas of the world — the Sephardic
Jews from the Middle East and North Africa and the Ashkenazi Jews come from Eastern Europe. The Sephardic is the oldest group and it is they, if any, who are the Jews described in the Bible because they lived in the area described in the Bible. They are blood relatives to the Arabs — the only difference between them is the religion.
Jews, who now compromise 90% of the Jews in the world, had a rather strange beginning. According to historians, many of them Jewish, the Ashkenazi Jews came into existence about 1,200 years ago. It happened this way:
At the eastern edge of Europe, there lived a tribe of people know as the Khazars. About the year 740 A.D., the Khazar king and his court decided they should adopt a religion for their people. So, representatives of the three major religions, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, were invited to present their religious doctrines. The Khazars chose Judaism, but it wasn't for religious reasons. If the Khazars had chosen Islam, they would have angered the strong Christian world. If they had chosen Christianity, they would have angered the strong Islamic world. So, they played it safe — they chose Judaism. It wasn't for religious reasons the Khazars chose Judaism; it was for political reasons.
Sometime during the 13th century, the Khazars were driven from their land and they migrated westward with most of them settling in Poland and Russia. These Khazars are now known as Ashkenazi Jews. Because these Khazar Ashkenazi Jews merely chose Judaism, they are not really Jews — at least not blood Jews.
Throughout their history, these Polish and Russian Ashkenazi Jews practiced communism/socialism and worked to have their ideas implemented in these countries.
By the late 1800s significant numbers of these communist/socialist Jews were found in Germany, the Balkans and eventually all over Europe. Because of their interference in the social and governmental affairs of Russia, they became the target of persecution by the Czars. Because of this, migration of these communist/socialist oriented Jews began. Some went to Palestine; some to Central and South America; and a large number of them came to the U.S.
It does make me wonder just how much racism has to play in the treatment of the Palestinian muslims.