The Michtav MeEliahu School and a local kindergarten chain
are demanding that the Or Yehuda Municipality reconnect the
electricity and resume paying their electric bills.
Their attorney, Guy Bossi, sent a letter to Mayor David
Yosef, noting that disconnecting the electricity violates
natural laws of justice. "Through your deeds and actions you
have issued a decree that the public cannot uphold, leaving
hundreds of children and tots...studying in dark buildings
and exposed to safety hazards on a daily basis," writes Atty.
Bossi, who may seek legal redress if the municipality does
not reverse its decision.
In a warning Rabbi Avrohom Yosef Lazerson, one of the heads
of Chinuch Atzmai, sent to Municipality Director-General
Yuval Amir, to the legal advisor and to other municipal
officials, he wrote, "There has been deliberate scheming and
a desire to constrict and undermine the development and
existence of the school, which is a spiritual lighthouse.
This constitutes appalling discrimination. Upon taking a tour
of the school I saw children with tears, suffering from eye
ailments and infections as a result of the lack of light and
heating for many long weeks, and a teaching staff working
under difficult and disgraceful conditions. This is cruelty
and heartlessness on the part of the municipality. All of the
municipality's legal arguments are irrelevant, for it cannot
be that the problem exists only in Or Yehuda while in the
rest of the country there is no such problem, especially now
that the Nahari Law has received final approval."
Rabbi Lazerson called the situation "intolerable" and
"unprecedented" in the annals of the State of Israel. "After
taking a tour with the principal of the dim, freezing-cold
classrooms and dining hall, I still couldn't believe my eyes.
My heart bled at hearing the outcries of the teachers and the
crying children. These are sights not seen even in refugee
camps. For weeks on end 500 boys and girls in the school's
two wings have been studying in these horrendous conditions
as an orderly municipality and a national government that
tries to present itself as orderly come up with evasions and
legal arguments based on `support regulations...'"
As part of efforts to solve the crisis Rabbi Lazerson sent an
urgent message to the Education Minister asking her to
intervene, and parents have gone to ranking city officials to
complain about the untenable situation — only to be
told they can transfer their children to one of the city's
secular schools where services are not lacking. Rabbi
Lazerson retorted that despite the hardships, parents would
continue to send their children to Chinuch Atzmai
Recently Interior Minister Meir Shetreet notified the
municipality he would grant the City of Or Yehuda NIS 30,000
($7,800) drawn from reserve funding to pay for the
electricity, but the municipality's legal adviser refused to
pay the bills, presenting odd legal arguments.