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Eileen Read Headshot

Why Are 110,000 Orthodox Israelis Rioting to 'Protect' Segregated Schools?

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It is with American ears that revere the separation of church and state that we listen in awe to extreme religious happenings in the Middle East.

Sometimes its the Muslims, sometimes its the Christians.

Today the Israeli media is reporting that 110,000 members of ultra-Orthodox sects are rioting in favor of segregation in their government-funded schools.

It's not bad enough that many of these folks live on state welfare subsidies in West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements and openly oppose the two-state solution. It's not bad enough that many are openly racist about mingling with Palestinians - see this Jerusalem Post story about their Tel Aviv-area town where Palestinians [known locally as "Arabs"] are banned. This isn't bad enough.

Now thousands of these religious extremists have streamed out of their settlements to come to this same town, Bnei Brak, and to West Jerusalem to riot against an Israeli supreme court decision ordering Ashkenazi [European] Jewish girls going to school along with Sephardic [Middle Eastern] Jewish girls.

The Israeli supreme court's rulings are often ignored, such as its orders to move the separation barrier [aka 'the wall'] from Palestinian lands and to open segregated highways to Palestinian citizens.

Makes me want to run to my schoolbooks and kiss the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: "Congress shall make no law establishing a state religion, nor inhibiting the free exercise thereof."

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