‘Stop the progressive coercion’ – Israeli parents battle transgender agenda in religious school

Supported by leading Religious Zionist rabbis, parents demand to educate their children according to traditional Jewish guidelines, decry administrators for hiding true identity of eight-year-old student.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Parents of children enrolled in a national-religious Israeli school that secretly supported the “transition” of a student are speaking out, saying that the administrators are undermining the religious integrity of the educational institution.

In August 2022, Hebrew-language outlet Besheva reported that staff and administrators at a national-religious school in Givat Shmuel, near Tel Aviv, had allowed a female student in the second grade to be addressed as a male and wear boys’ clothing on campus, while hiding the student’s true identity from other students and their parents.

But since the revelation was made public, little has changed at the school. The child in question is still enrolled at the institution, while presenting as a male.

Teachers and students are instructed to speak with the child using male language, and the child wears tzitzit and a kippah, Jewish religious garments worn by observant males.

Parents told Israel National News that municipal administrators have placed numerous bureaucratic obstacles in the way of parents who wish to transfer their children to a different school, forcing them to form a breakaway class without the child in question.

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The parents recently launched a fundraising campaign to raise money for their alternative class, which they titled “Our children, our education — Stop the progressive coercion.”

Several prominent Religious Zionist rabbis have supported the parents in their efforts, with the Chief Rabbi of Tzfat, Shmuel Eliyahu, traveling to the school to personally teach a lesson to the students in the alternative class.

“Media reports are portraying us as primitive and narrow-minded. That couldn’t be further from the truth,” an anonymous father told Israel National News.

“In our particular case, we’re ‘mildly religious’ and my wife wears pants. But we sent our son to a religious school because of the values we wanted him to absorb. The national-religious system has to have boundaries.”

Another parent, using the pseudonym Sara, told Arutz Sheva that contrary to mainstream news accounts depicting them as cruelly isolating the student, “we have nothing against the child concerned, and we feel very sorry for her.”

“We respect everyone, no matter who they are,” Sara continued. “But we, as religious parents, chose to send our children to a religious school that educates them toward certain values, and we have a legitimate right to choose what to expose our children to, and to shield them from concepts that are incompatible with our faith at this young age.”

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Sara added that “we’re talking about a class of eight-year-olds. Of course they were totally shocked to find out the truth.

“These are little children not even old enough to cross the road by themselves. They’re not capable of digesting what’s going on here.”

The Education Ministry responded to reports of the alternative class by saying the parents planning the alternative class had violated educational guidelines and were harming the student in question.

Schools are “required to provide educational solutions for all students in an inclusive and equality-based manner,” the statement read. “The Ministry is vehemently opposed to any isolation or calls for isolation, which primarily harms the student concerned,” they said, referring to the child with the Hebrew word for a male student.

“The Ministry will not sanction the opening of a class which does not follow Ministry guidelines,” the statement continued.

“The issue is being dealt with professionally and with sensitivity by the head of the national-religious education system and the head of the local education authority. Due to privacy concerns, we cannot elaborate on this further.”