Haaretz, Dec 9, 2017


suddenly, the boys were told to return to their classrooms. Why? “Immodest content” – namely, a song sung by a fifth-grade girl.

The ceremony continued only after all the boys, even the first-graders, had left.

“Our school is becoming more ultra-Orthodox, and the emphasis on ‘modesty’ has reached new heights,” one mother told Haaretz. “One argument being made is that we need to accustom the children to these prohibitions from a young age, so they’ll observe them as adults.”

This growing religious strictness is connected to a group of young religious activists, known as Garin Torani, who are active in the school and push for greater gender separation. All complaints have been rejected virtually out of hand.

Parents and educational activists said a similar process can be seen throughout the state religious school system.

This doesn’t only entail separate classrooms – starting in first grade in the Holon school – but even explicit bans on fathers attending their daughters’ school events. The Education Ministry directive that permits fathers to attend “family ceremonies” isn’t widely known and is even less widely enforced. Often, school events are for mothers and daughters only.