Ministers set rules to end anti-Sephardi discrimination in Haredi schools

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri and Education Minister Naftali Bennett announce new directives they say will end discrimination against ultra-Orthodox Sephardic girls, many of whom are rejected from largely Ashkenazi Haredi institutions due to their ethnic background.

During the weekly Shas faction meeting in the Knesset, Deri — the leader of the party — says his initial proposal to force regional registration of all students was rejected due to internal coalition sparring. But he cheers the compromise, saying, “for us, the Shas faction, today is a holiday.”

Bennett says the new regulations will force ultra-Orthodox schools to begin the registration process earlier in the year. He also promises “transparency,” saying the schools will be forced to explain why they rejected each student and an appeals panel will be set up in the ministry to oversee complaints by parents.

“There is no more ‘because,'” he says of the schools, but rather they must provide a full explanation in each case.

“No girl will be discriminated against due to ethnicity, period,” says Bennett.

The education minister says the new regulations go into effect immediately.

“This is a problem that shouldn’t have existed in the State of Israel,” says Bennett.

— Marissa Newman

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