Skip To Content
Breaking News

Beit Shemesh Removes Partition Between Secular and Haredi Students

The city of Beit Shemesh ordered the removal of a wall that had been set up inside a local elementary school to separate its secular and Orthodox pupils.

The corrugated galvanized iron wall was erected last week in the yard of the secular Safot VeTarbuyot school to separate its pupils from girls attending the Haredi Orthodox Mishekenot Da’at school, which recently began operating in a different section of the same building.

The wall sparked protests. Some parents told Army Radio it was infringement on their secular lifestyle in Beit Shemesh, which has a large and growing Haredi contingent.

Mayor Moshe Abutbul told Army Radio he ordered the removal of the partition on Thursday “as a gesture, which hopefully will help bring down another wall, which has grown taller and taller and divides the two parties.”

Haredi Orthodox schools separate girls and boys. One member of the city council was detained for questioning by police after writing with red paint on the wall: “Separation wall – a disgrace for Zionism.”

The city of Beit Shemesh -– a flashpoint for conflicts between Haredi and secular residents over the role of religion in the public sphere –- moved the Haredi girls into the secular school because of space considerations and against the orders of the Ministry of Education, Channel 2 reported.

On Thursday, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court declined to rule on the ministry’s motion for an injunction against the opening of the Haredi school inside the secular school. Judge Gad Arenberg said the matter was administrative and that his court was not equipped to deal with the issue.

A source from the ministry told Channel 2 his office intended to appeal to a higher court.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.