Jerusalem: Tens of thousands of black-clad
ultra-Orthodox Jews staged mass demonstrations on Thursday to
protest a Supreme Court ruling forcing the integration of a
religious girls` school.
Protesters snarled traffic in Jerusalem and another large
religious enclave, crowded onto balconies in crowded city
squares, and waved posters decrying the court`s decision and
proclaiming the supremacy of religious law. There were no
reports of violence.
The showdown shined a spotlight on a wide array of social
issues Israel has been grappling with for years, including
discrimination inside the Jewish community, the
disproportionate clout of the country`s ultra-Orthodox
minority and the precarious state of the country`s education
Parents of European, or Ashkenazi, descent at a girls`
school in the West Bank settlement of Emanuel don`t want their
children to study with schoolgirls of Mideast and North
African descent, known as Sephardim.
The Ashkenazi parents insist they aren`t racist, but want
to keep the classrooms segregated, as they have been for
years, arguing that the families of the Sephardi girls aren`t