Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

24 Shevat 5766 - February 22, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Court Issues Closure Order for Bais Yaakov School in Raanana

by A. Cohen

Tempers are heating up at Chinuch Atzmai and within Raanana's observant residents, in light of ongoing efforts by secular figures in the city to sabotage the local Bais Yaakov secondary school. The issue came to a head recently when a court ordered the school closed on the grounds that classes are held in a structure that the municipality did not approve for non-residential use.

Founded ten years ago, today the high school draws 80 students from Raanana, Kfar Saba, Herzliya, Rosh Ha'ayin, Hod Hasharon and Ramat Hasharon. Under its principal, Mrs. P. Bruner, the school has earned a reputation for scholastic achievement and has a positive spiritual impact on the entire city, which irks local Meretz activists who have been trying for years to remove the school from the city's jurisdiction. Since its founding, the school has had to roam from one location to another and to wage constant legal battles. The school's only request from the city was to allocate a suitable lot to build on or to approve the existing structure for non-residential use. But the city's anti-religious forces exerted pressure to undermine the school.

Recently, the battle reached a peak when the Court for Municipal Affairs in Raanana ruled that the school sits on land zoned for residential use and issued a court order to close the school immediately — in the middle of the school year. The court even fined the Chinuch Atzmai administration and Mrs. Bruner, who also received a suspended six-month jail sentence.

Since last week's court order, the students, with their parents' encouragement, have been holding classes at the large beis knesses in the city, located on municipality premises. The students are determined to keep the school going at any cost and hoping to find a suitable place for classes. MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni has raised the issue in the Knesset on several occasions and has worked hard to promote the school's rights.

Last week, Rabbi Avrohom Yosef Lazerson, one of the heads of Chinuch Atzmai, arrived at the site and held an urgent meeting with Raanana Mayor Mr. Nachum Chofri and his top aides, describing to them the public fury over the ongoing persecution of the outstanding school based on clearly anti- religious motivations and demanded that he find an immediate solution. He also said that the Chinuch Atzmai administration is determined to defend the school, which provides an education not just for Raanana residents but also for other students arriving from far and wide.

During the visit Rabbi Lazerson also offered words of chizuk to the students and teaching staff compelled to confront stiff challenges to raise aloft the banner of chareidi education for bnos Yisroel.

The issue was also raised during the opening session of a recent workshop for Bais Yaakov principals from around the country, held at the Nir Etzion Hotel, and a letter of encouragement was sent to Mrs. Bruner from Rabbi Lazerson, Rabbi Luria and the entire Chinuch Atzmai system.


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