Haaretz reports that in the past ten years the number of schools within Israel’s state-run religious elementary schools has grown from 25% of the schools to 65%. In some cases, segregation begins as early as 1st grade.

Of course, some smart-aleck might say that there is nothing wrong with pre-pubescent segregation between boys and girls and they’re getting the same education anyway. Fat chance. Rabbi Rabbi Michael Melchior who is also a former Deputy Minister of Education calls this radicalization

“that is being expressed in a wide range of issues alongside the issue of gender separation and the exclusion of the place of the woman.”

In other words, they are starting to exclude women from key roles in society by getting them young, really young. After all, they don’t need the same emphasis on, say, Torah studies, if they can’t become rabbis. They don’t need the same emphasis on subjects that may earn them a living wage if their roles will be those of mothers and homemakers.

This is quite literally a medieval practice. And it is funded by the state of Israel! They are violating Israel’s education rules in the process, by the way, since classes may only be divided if they reach 40 children (40 in a classroom!!! Maybe if they could get some more tax revenues from the two key populations that are having the most children, the Haredim and the Arabs, then they could afford smaller classes?)

Now, don’t think this is being driven by the Haredim. This is religious Zionism in action. The state of Israel should not be involved in any such educational division between boys and girls. It must either outlaw or de-fund it. Now. As soon as possible. Education is always a means of affecting people’s place in society, their income level, their mobility and their freedom in general. There is no place for this sort of segregation in a liberal democracy and certainly not in Israel where one of its recent Nobel laureates is a woman.

What can you do?

First of all, remember to sing and hum whenever and wherever you are in public. Especially around observant men.

Second, run for office or encourage your friends to run for office. Join the main political parties with your friends and have some women run on the Knesset slate. Then vote for the women and get your friends to vote for the women candidates, and your boyfriends and husbands too. After all, do they want their daughters and wives to be excluded from key places in society?

Third, write letters to the Netanyahu government to complain. Promise Kadima and Labor leaders that you will vote for them and their candidates if they run on platforms that put an end to these shameful moves against women such as omitting women from ads, removing them from public singing and separating them on buses.

You are fighting for the very soul of Israel right now. If this continues, you will not want to fight for its soul later, because it will be destroyed. This is a fight that women have to win!

Previous Alerts:
Kol Isha / Woman’s Voice Movement Alert 3

Here is Kol Isha / Women’s Voice Alert Two

Here is Kol Isha / Women’s Voice Alert One and Founding

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  • You’re welcome to come by my local religious-zionist school – which has music, dance, and Zumba for girls.

    This is the same school system that’s yielded 2 very proud female Jewish pro basketball players:


    More Muddling by a know-nothing American Liberal Jew who is either desperate or gullible – or both.

  • … and sex-separate schooling actually benefits girls, putting them in leadership positions when they would otherwise curb themselves and take a backseat to boys for social reasons.

    Over 500 American schools have adopted sex-separate programs in an attempt to satisfy NCLB and improve general performance:


  • Okay and now I have read the article in the Forward. Did you? Did you understand, as I did, that this girl is the exception, not the rule? Did you get the part where a male rabbi had to approve her sports activity and that another, prominent, rabbi has ruled that women may not play sports if there are men in the audience?

  • On one hand, great news! On the other , another BS post on the same misrepresented issue.

    I went to Israeli university. The brightest religious girls were the ones who came from separate schooling, the others, well, weren’t really religious anymore. Middle is trying to make a direct connection between separate schooling and ‘hadrat nashim’ – something better done in the tabloids and with ignoramus like Hillary Clinton then the educated people who visit Jewlicious.

    Middle, if you want to make a difference, leave the US and come here already.

    • You’re telling me? Between the folks at the Federation who walk around with fear in their eyes because they have no idea what to do to save the community, and the idiots who use their Jewish affiliations to attack Israel, and the unstoppable number of intermarriages where nobody even bothers to ask the new spouse to join Judaism, I am very much in agreement with you about life here.

      On the other hand, I think what’s going on in Israeli politics and the changes to Israel’s society are scary. I honestly do believe that Israel needs to establish a constitution, quickly, that ensures the country can never permit religious law to supersede civil law. I honestly do believe that there are massive levels of incompetence in the public domain in Israel because of the back-scratching mentality. I definitely question whether the IDF has its stuff together after Lebanon II and the fact that the same officer class which led that fiasco is the officer class that leads the IDF today.

      Right now there are no easy answers.

  • Hey middle –
    Waaaay before my family became religious, my sister attended the last all-girl school in the NYC school system – Hunter College High, the “sister school” of the more famous Stuyvesant School.

    A school full of gifted girls got to show their stuff, compete, take leadership roles in clubs – without the social pressure of catering to male egos or hiding one’s lights under a bushel to be “popular”.

    Then the “equal rights” idiots got involved, and forced the school to go coed.

    As the girls themselves predicted – boys quickly took all leadership positions, and the girls’ grades, awards, and general achievement mysteriously fell behind those of the boys.

    Get a clue – and start looking beyond conventional left-liberal talking points, which have been disproven time and again.

    • Ben David,

      We know you’re all for segregating boys from girls. We get it. You are welcome to open all the private schools you want that separate boys and girls. State funds, however, should not be used for any sort of segregation. Sorry.