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8 Tishrei 5772 - October 6, 2011 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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High Court Judges Wonder Over Attempt to Compel Yeshivos Ketanos to Study Core Curriculum

By Yechiel Sever

High Court judges hinted on Tuesday that they have no intention of interfering with the law that permits yeshivos ketanos not to teach the Core Curriculum (Leba). Their remarks were made during the course of a provocative petition to annul the law and impose the Core Curriculum at yeshivos ketanos. Judge Asher Grunis, who has been tapped to be court president upon Dorit Beinish's retirement, said, "The fact that a judge is displeased does not mean he can annul a law."

In a suit filed last year by Prof. Amnon Rubinstein, Prof. Uriel Reichman and General (Res.) Elazar Stern, a bench extended to nine judges headed by Justice Beinish heard the case. The petitioners sought to declare illegal the law legislated in 2008, which enables the yeshivos ketanos to be exempt from the Core Curriculum, and demanded the High Court impose the Core Curriculum on the yeshivos ketanos for the "welfare" of the yeshiva students themselves.

"Along come the petitioners, who are not claiming any of their own rights were infringed upon and are seeking to protect the chareidim from themselves by annulling a law legislated in the Knesset," Atty. Eyal Yanun told the judges. "Does the chareidi public not know what is best for it and its children? Does the curriculum at the yeshivot ketanot harm the principal of human dignity? ... Is the absence of the Core Curriculum not balanced by the learning proficiency imparted by yeshiva study, their skills, education and contribution to others and to the community?

"As one who sends his children to government schools, I feel a certain discomfort. It would behoove us to show a bit of humility regarding the chareidi education system. To set forth the Core Curriculum as if there is no alternative is, in my opinion, not a humble approach. Would we ever endeavor to claim that the education system in the Kibbutz Movement, where an emphasis is placed on agriculture, is a constitutional infringement on education or human dignity?...Our position is that this petition is like a bull in a china shop. Not every law that to a portion of the public is not right is then unconstitutional."

Atty. Adiel Glass argued the case is "a precedent-setting petition that seeks to annul a Knesset law not in order to protect individual rights, but to impose the will of the majority on the minority. The petitioners are well aware of the fact that the yeshiva students and their parents are uninterested in human dignity that stands in contrast to their world-view. The petitioners presumption of speaking for a large segment of the population, saying they know better what's best, is akin to people who try to help an old lady cross the street when she doesn't want to go to the other side."

In summary, the judges hearing the case determined that if defects are found in the law it would be problematic to intervene in Knesset legislation. Judge Beinish also hinted that it would be difficult for the court to reject the law on the basis of constitutionality.


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