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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Residents of Immanuel settlement unaware of Barack Obama's existence

At least I have to assume so, based on this quote from a resident:
"No court ruling or Education Ministry decision can bring the two groups together," an Immanuel resident said Wednesday.
"It's like putting Americans and Africans together. They can't study together with such huge mental differences,"

Of course, American Stanley Ann Dunham and African Barack Hussein Obama did, in fact, study together at the University of Hawaii back in the early 1960s, as that is where they met, and as a result, our 44th president was conceived and born (in whatever country the Birthers are currently claiming, of course). On the other hand, I guess what they were doing wasn't exactly studying, so maybe the resident was making a sly joke.

I doubt it, though. After all, the settlement in question, Immanuel, is an all-Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) settlement located deep in the West Bank; as such, unlike the huge Beitar Illit and Modi'in Illit right on the border, it hasn't grown rapidly. In fact, unlike the West Bank as a whole, it has the same population it had 18 years ago. The "two groups" mentioned here are ultra-Orthodox Ashkenazi girls and ultra-Orthodox Sephardi girls.

This controversy (or, as the Ashkenazi Haredim would say, cawnsroyversy) has been going for several years, every since the Bais Yaakov/Beit Yaakov created "two schools under one roof" in 2007 by separating the Ashkenazi and Sephardi schoolgirls.

A lawsuit was filed early on, at the behest of the residents, because it was not (just like it never is) "separate but equal"

Elyashiv Aharon, deputy chairman of the United Council of Sephardi Communities in Emmanuel, said that while the town's Sephardi residents would prefer that their children study with the Ashkenazi pupils, they were not opposed in principle to segregation.

"But the way it was done was brutal," said Aharon. "They gave Sephardi girls the impression that they were second-rate human beings. Girls came home from school crying. It was a trauma that is liable to have a lasting impact on those girls' lives."

In 2008, there were threats that the school would lose its license, but they were never followed through.

More recently, the government has been more active in trying to integrate the school. As a result, a whole bunch of the Ashkenazi girls have been skipping schools. Mind you, the Bais Yaakov schools in Israel teach precious little useful (i.e. secular) information anyway, so it's not such a big loss.

However, the entire thing is really disgusting, even for Haredim. We're all Jews, after all. Jeez, maybe they should use those soldiers who don't want to expel Jews from the settlements to instead forcibly integrate the school a la the American South.

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