Friday, June 18, 2010

Meanwhile, in Israel

This is so extreme that it almost comes around to something seen as racism: The Ultra-Orthodox Jews of Ashkenazi descent don't want their daughters educated with the daughters of Ultra-Orthodox Jews not of Ashkenazi descent!

But it probably isn't racism, not at least the obvious kind. Instead, it's an extreme form of sexism: Denying girls an education which reflects the world:

The reason for wanting separate education, the parents claim, is not racism but a desire to remove their daughters from the influence of those they consider less strict in their religious observance. Watching TV at home, having access to the internet, and a laxer dress code among the Sephardi ultra-Orthodox have been cited.

The ultra-Orthodox school in the illegal West Bank settlement of Emmanuel segregated the girls, a move that was subject to a legal challenge resulting in an order to reintegrate. The parents of the 43 girls refused to send them back to mixed classes, leading to sentences for contempt of court.

Underlying the case is the rejection of what the ultra-Orthodox community's sees as state interference in their religious practice and life. "We don't give our girls all the knowledge that there is in the world," said Esther Bark, 50, a mother of seven daughters watching the male-only demonstration today. "We shelter them, and that's why they need a sheltered school. We can't mix a whole assortment of girls in one school."