Tel Aviv yeshiva harassed by secular protesters wanting it out of the neighborhood

“A storm is brewing in the city of Tel Aviv over Yeshiva Maale Eliyahu, and that, in my opinion is very sad,” said MK Matan Kahana.

By World Israel News Staff

A religious Zionist yeshiva in Tel Aviv has found itself in the crosshairs of secular residents.

City officials had requested that Yeshiva Maale Eliyahu, located on Henrietta Szold Street near Ichilov Medical Center, relocate just 500 yards away in order to permit the expansion of a neighboring school.

The yeshiva’s leadership agreed to the request and, together with the with Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipal officials, worked out a plan to move to a larger facility. In exchange, the city vowed to facilitate the yeshiva’s expansion at the new location.

Two months ago, the city’s planning and construction committee approved plans to convert a building on Clay Street in north Tel Aviv into a facility to house the yeshiva. Part of the yeshiva’s current campus has already been vacated and sectioned off by the city, in keeping with the agreement.

Now, however, it appears city officials have reneged on the deal in response to pressure from secular residents who protested the yeshiva’s relocation.

While the yeshiva has been at its present location since 1996, plans to move the institution some 500 yards to the north prompted an angry backlash from some residents, who accused the city of plotting to force a “far-right yeshiva” into a largely secular neighborhood.

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“The residents of north Tel Aviv…were horrified to discover recently that a plan to construct a huge building on the pastoral Clay Street for the far-right yeshiva Ma’ale Eliyahu is about to receive final approval from the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality,” a group of activists who dubbed themselves the Headquarters of the Struggle Against the Messianists wrote last Wednesday, The Jewish Press reported, calling on locals to protest the relocation.

“This is expected to increase the yeshiva’s size four times…and will allow it to house 700 students, who will bring their families with them to expand the religious community in the big city.”

The protesters have drawn support from left-wing groups – including the Crime Minister and the Black Flag movements – involved in mass protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the judicial reform plan.

On Sunday, the city announced that it has frozen the planned relocation in order to “reexamine” other possible options.

“After discussions and listening to all the relevant parties, the mayor this morning (Monday) ordered the local planning committee to re-examine the plan to move the Ma’ale Eliyahu yeshiva to a building on Clay Street, and to propose additional alternatives,” the announcement read.

Lawmakers from both the opposition and the coalition condemned the campaign against the talmudic institution. MK Avi Maoz (Noam) quoted comments by New York City Mayor Eric Adams defending yeshivas.

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“Instead of us focusing on, how do we duplicate the success of improving our children, we attack the yeshivas that are providing a quality education that is embracing our children,” said Adams during a speech at the Teach NYS Annual Dinner 2023, hosted by the Orthodox Union.

“Here, in contrast,” said MK Maoz, “when the Maale Eliyahu yeshiva was asked to move out of its facility next to Ichilov hospital after more than 20 years in order to expand a school, and in exchange was offered large synagogue nearby [to be converted into a yeshiva], a small group of anti-religious activists…launched a crusade, apparently well-funded, to prevent the yeshiva from moving into the building.”

Israel National News reported that Opposition MK Matan Kahana (National Unity) lamented the politicization of the yeshiva’s relocation, saying Tuesday: “A storm is brewing in the city of Tel Aviv over Yeshiva Maale Eliyahu, and that, in my opinion is very sad.”

“The yeshiva agreed to the mayor’s request to relocate in order to expand an existing school. Now there’s a conflict over the new location, just 500 yards away from its original location. No one had ever complained to them about noise or religious coercion or anything else.”