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The Schmooze

Ex-Haredim Sue Israel for ‘Financial Damage’

There is a remarkable twist in the ongoing battle about Haredi education.

The majority of boys’ schools serving Ashkenazic Haredim do not teach the ministry’s required “core curriculum,” causing fury among secular politicians and educationalists. The Haredim say it’s their right in a multicultural society to decide to give their children a narrow religious education if they want.

Now, a group of graduates from these schools is suing the state for letting their schools ignore the curriculum. “Whoever studied in haredi schools without core issues (including those who are still haredi) and has been forced to complete matriculation or psychometric exams, losing years of work or suffering any other financial damage, is invited to send us his personal details,” says the promotional material of the group initiating the lawsuit. They are members of Maavar, an association of ex-Haredim.

This is going to be fascinating to watch. How will the state respond to a lawsuit holding it responsible for an educational approach, chosen by the plaintiffs’ parents, which it opposes but hasn’t, until now, had the confidence to fight? And if these ex-Haredim succeed, what’s to stop still-observant Haredim who say their earnings power has suffered from suing, too?

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