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National religious, haredi Orthodox protesters clash over girls’ school

JTA

August 30, 2011 | 11:40 am

Police were called in to quell a clash between parents of students at a new national religious school for girls in the Jerusalem District and haredi Orthodox protesters who have prevented its opening.

The confrontation at the Orot Neria school in Beit Shemesh began Monday afternoon when hundreds of parents confronted the protesters, who had been sitting in at the school since Sunday night. Police came in to separate the groups when the confrontation became physical.

The school has not opened, forcing the students to begin the term at other schools. Moshe Abutbul, the haredi Orthodox mayor of Beit Shemesh, said he could not guarantee their safety following threats from the protesters.

An Education Ministry was adamant in saying the school would open.

“The Orot Neria school will open this school year just like other schools in the government educational system,” the statement said. “The Education Ministry has approved opening the school in its new building.”

The school is located in an area near a haredi Orthodox neighborhood of neighboring Ramat Beit Shemesh. The residents object to a national religious girls school because they say it will not meet their modesty standards, according to Israel Hayom.

A yeshiva for boys is slated to be located in the same area, according to the newspaper.

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