"The City of Raanana is making cynical use of the court for
political purposes," charged MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni during
court proceedings in the Kfar Saba District Court against
Chinuch Atzmai and high school principal, Mrs. P. Bruner.
The City of Raanana pressed charges against Mrs. Bruner for
allegedly violating the court order prohibiting the irregular
use of a rented residential building for educational purposes
without a legal permit.
MK Rabbi Gafni, who has assisted the city's chareidi school
and high school since their founding, asked to appear as a
witness to testify against the City and the Mayor for
scheming against the chareidi high school.
Testifying for over an hour and a half, Rabbi Gafni
demonstrated that the City of Raanana has been trying to
undermine the city's chareidi high school since the day they
were founded due to discriminatory political motivations.
After relating how the school was started Rabbi Gafni noted
that "Stop the Chareidim" signs were first seen in Raanana,
where war was declared against chareidi upper school
education. These signs played a significant role in forging
the Mayor's opposition to the new high school. "When I sat
down with the Mayor and tried to dissuade him from the
decision to close the high school he said, `What can I do?
Look at the signs,'" explained Rabbi Gafni.
"The Mayor told me he was willing to provide the license for
the school at its present location, but that there be an
agreement [he can present to] the opponents to have the
school be transferred to Kfar Saba. They proposed an interim
solution of two years and meanwhile another solution would be
found so they could say in the long-term the school would not
remain. If the school is such a nuisance to the neighbors,
why another two years? Have it closed right away!" exclaimed
"In 5762 the school received a permit from the Education
Ministry. One day the director of the Education Ministry's
department of recognized, unofficial schools notified me that
she would have to cancel the license. She told me the school
was functioning on a high level and that all was in order
from the Education Ministry's standpoint, but the City of
Raanana was pressuring her to shut down the school.
"The City of Raanana's conduct indicates there is a political
battle taking place here using whatever means necessary
— including pressure on the Education Ministry and
cynical use of the court — instead of solving the
"The Mayor is a good mayor, he wants to help the school
— as long as its leaves Raanana. If the school leaves
Raanana because of a discriminatory struggle it means the
entire system in the State of Israel is collapsing. And if we
accept this approach in an open-minded city like Raanana,
where every man should be entitled to lead his life as he
sees fit, and we give up and move to Kfar Saba or another
location it means there is no room [for chareidim] in any
other city in Israel and we'll have to move into ghettos.
"The City of Raanana is taking Jewish children and making
them into pawns for political ends, and the City of Raanana
is making cynical, political use of the court.
"The issue has been formally raised on several occasions in
the Knesset Education Committee chaired by MK Shalgi, who has
no great fondness for the chareidi sector but who nonetheless
strongly criticized Raanana city officials for their conduct
in regard to the school. The City of Raanana is evading
public discussion, not answering any questions from public or
political figures regarding the issue [of] not having us
"The current facility is not suitable for a high school but
rather than allocating a suitable building site as is done at
every local authority with girls to accommodate, all the City
has done is to declare the building unsuitable, reaping the
rewards of its evil deeds."
The Education Ministry would like to see the problem solved
but due to political considerations the Mayor is making every
effort not to allocate a suitable site, thereby keeping the
Education Ministry from building.
At a later hearing Chinuch Atzmai Director Rabbi Alexander
Miller appeared, saying that his job is to travel from one
local authority to the next to arrange for construction
sites. "In almost every case I receive positive responses,
with the exception of the City of Raanana, where
unfortunately I was unsuccessful despite appeals by us and
While the City of Raanana wanted the case to focus on the
legality of using the building as a school, following Rabbi
Gafni's testimony the trial turned into a public hearing over
whether the City of Raanana is obligated to provide a lot for
The court elected not to rule on the question of contempt of
court and delayed subsequent hearings for a period of four
months, honoring a request by the plaintiff's counsel to
bring in witnesses to counter MK Rabbi Gafni's claims.