The Emmanuel Story

A Complicated Situation

The story of what transpired in the city of Emmanuel is complicated. Both sides have claims, and neither of them intended to cause damage to one another. The Hasidic Jews wish to be precise and stringent with their customs in order to create a secure and protected framework for their daughters. The petitioners demanded that they follow the accepted rules of all independently-run educational schools throughout the country, which are more lenient. Precisely because of the educational difficulties in Emmanuel, the Hasidim desire to be more stringent, in order to guard themselves. On the other hand, precisely because of the same difficulties, those who were not accepted into the stringent and secure framework feel deeply distressed.

The problem worsened because the two sides did not solve the disagreement in an appropriate way – through a ‘Beit Din’ (court of Jewish law) accepted by both sides. Because the Haredi public in general lacks an agreed-upon leadership, similarly, there is no ‘Beit Din’ accepted by all the various groups. Therefore, when a significant dispute breaks out, there is no way to solve it. This is the situation in the dispute between the Hasidim and those who oppose the administration of the independently-run educational system. This is also what happens when a substantial disagreement arises between the different Hasidic groups, such as the dispute between Satmar and Vishnitz. And this is what occurs when a dispute arises in a Lithuanian yeshiva – as what took place in the Ponivitsh Yeshiva.

In such a situation, it is fitting for both sides to select their own ‘dayan’ (judge), and the two judges choose a third judge, and what the ‘Beit Din’ decides – they do.

The Supreme Court is Guilty

Had the Supreme Court demanded that both sides find themselves an accepted arbitrator, someone who profoundly understands the educational difficulties leading to the disagreement, they would have acted properly. Had the judges decided that in Emmanuel, the school must act similar to the accepted rules for independently-run schools throughout the country, thereby allowing a few additional girls to be accepted into the Hasidic framework – it would have been tolerable. However, to force the Hasidim to send their daughters to a school which is not acceptable to them – this is inconceivable. And when the parents refused to consent to Supreme Court’s decree – to punish them with imprisonment – this is a crazy situation that every decent person must work to change.

And when the Supreme Court dares to justify its claim against the Hasidim as being ‘racial discrimination’ – this is chutzpah! The institution which is the most Ashkenazi, the most discriminatory, whose percentage of Sephardic Jews doesn’t even reach ten percent, has the nerve to admonish others for not accepting Sephardim?!

Of course, the judges will say that the extremely low percentage of Sephardim in the judicial system is due to practical reasons. But this is exactly what the Hasidim are saying – the reasons are of a practical nature. And the Hasidim are far more correct than the judges. First, the percentage of Sephardic girls in the Hasidic classes is three times higher than the percentage of Sephardic judges in the Supreme Court. More importantly, the Hasidim don’t pretend to dictate to all the other communities how to act; however, the Supreme Court does pretend to impose their values on the entire nation. How then, can they not include all the people who represent the gamut of the public’s values?

Supreme Court Damage

The Supreme Court limited the actions of the I.D.F. – through severe limitations of targeted assassinations of terrorists, abolishment of the procedure of using them as human shields, and the prohibition of the policy of the Shabak (Secret Security) to “shake-up” informers – even in the case of a “ticking bomb”. As a result of this, soldiers and civilians have been killed and it has even caused a war to break-out, for when the enemy cannot be deterred properly they continue to attack, until there is no alternative but to go to war. The Supreme Court damaged the status of Hebrew as the official language of the State of Israel. It changed the route of the “security fence” in contradiction to security considerations and the rights of the Jewish nation over its land. It harmed the values of the Jewish family. It dealt a blow to ‘kashrut’ arrangements. It harmed the possibility of giving preference in child allowances to citizens who served in the army. It damaged the proprietorship of the Jewish nation on lands b

elonging to the Jewish National Fund. It incited police and soldiers against the settlers, who, as the result of abuse from the Minister of Defense, were not able to arrange all the proper building permits. On the other hand, the Supreme Court delays taking action against much more severe violations of the law in the Arab sector.

Non-Jewish Courts: Desecration of God

Even without all these injustices, the existence of a court of law in the Jewish State which is not bound by Jewish tradition is a desecration of God. The entire world learned about truth and justice from our holy Torah, but the judges of the Supreme Court of the Jewish nation, which has returned to its own land, impose non-Jewish laws over the people. At first, they went according to Turkish and British law; more recently, they follow an extreme liberal viewpoint, part of which was invented by Aharon Barak, the previous head of the Supreme Court.

The present situation comes to prove just how costly this sin is for the Jewish nation.

The Two Sins of the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court sinned twice: First, in its assault on the sacred principle that parents are responsible for the education of their children. Just as every citizen has the right to choose where he lives, which furniture he buys, and whom he marries, he also has the right to decide what type of education he wants for his children. This Court wouldn’t dare instruct any Arab how to educate his children.

The second sin is that it is forbidden for the Court to force a Jew to be unfaithful to his beliefs. If the Court asks to whom the parents are obligated – to the Torah, or to the Court, the answer of every Jew must be clear: to the Torah. The Jewish nation has sacrificed lives for the freedom of faith and conscience, and decent, non-Jews amongst the nations have learned this from us. And here, it is precisely Jewish judges who dare to undermine this basic idea. Even if disagreements exist about the method of education, inasmuch as the parents and their rabbi’s think that this is what they must do according to the Torah, it is forbidden to force them to act in contrast to their beliefs. They have not yet incited their children to support the enemy or prepare bombs.

Power to the Righteous Parents

And when the Court arose to determine for the parents where and how to educate their children, the parents, with the guidance of the Rebbe from Slonim, acted properly by rebelling. And when the court arose to threaten them with imprisonment, they acted properly by going to jail with their heads held high, and not submitting to the Court’s tyranny. Even if they erred in their treatment of some of the girls from Emmanuel – in the merit of their willingness to stand firm against the tyranny of the Court, and to place the Torah and faith above any non-religious rule – their sins are forgiven, and they merited sanctifying God’s name.

‘Yasher koach’ to the Haredi public and its leaders, together with a number of people from the National Religious public, who accompanied the parents on their way to prison.

Responsibility of the Prime Minister and Knesset

It must be said: this is not only the sin of the Court. The public’s representatives, the Members of Knesset, law-makers, and the Prime Minister, bear overall responsibility for the damage of the Supreme Court. They should have stopped its domineeringness a long time ago. Having not done so, they are full partners in all its injustices.

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