The High Court of Justice yesterday rejected a petition seeking to force yeshivos ketanos (grades 9-12) to teach the “core curriculum,” which includes math, English and civics.
In a 7-2 decision, Supreme Court President Asher Grunis and Deputy President Miriam Naor voted with the majority.
The petition was filed by former EducationMinister Amnon Rubinstein, Professor Uriel Reichman and MK Elazar Stern (Movement), among others, challenged the legality of a law exempting yeshivos ketanos from the requirement to teach the core curriculum. They argued that the law violated the right to a general education and harmed the ability of the students to earn a living.
Justice Neal Hendel, writing for the majority, said that parents have a right to decide where to send their children to school. He added that the petition reflected some degree of paternalism and was an attempt to eradicate a central component of the identity of the chareidi minority.
Hendel noted that Judaism has always recognized the need to work alongside Torah study and that chareidim are entering the workforce in greater numbers. At the same time, it is not the role of the legislator to force chareidim to go to work.
Naor wrote that the right to a general education must be balanced with the right of parents to educate their children in accordance with their worldview.
Grunis, who also referred to the petition as paternalistic, said that not every social issue — in this case integrating chareidim into the workplace and society — is judicable. He added that it hasn’t been proven that not teaching the core curriculum constitutes a denial of the right to be educated.
Justice Edna Arbel, who with Salim Joubran voted against, said that in failing to teach the core curriculum the yeshivos were denying chareidi youth the tools they need to choose their own future.