Thousands of ultra-Orthodox protest in Israel
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Last Updated: Thursday, June 17, 2010, 21:21
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 system.

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 religious enough.


First Published: Thursday, June 17, 2010, 21:21

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