Israel’s education minister, Yoav Kish, has disgraced himself, his ministry, his government and Israel itself. He barred an 8 year old transgender child from an Orthodox school, Moreshet Neriya, in Givat Shmuel near Ramat Gan. He did so against the wishes of his family, who appealed the ministry decision to an administrative court. The ministry falsely claimed that its decision resulted from an agreement reached with the mother.
Parents of other students in the school pressured the ministry to remove the trans child. They even referred to him as “she” and filed suit against the ministry and the Jerusalem municipality in the district court, demanding that the boy should dress in attire corresponding to his [the court filing used “her”] biological identity; and that they stop demanding that teachers and fellow students relate to him as a boy. The parents appealed to the court to place their son in another state-religious school which would “act in accordance with their educational approach.” Presumably, this meant they sought a school which would respect their decisions and their son’s gender identity.
Unfortunately, the court rejected their appeal saying the parents could not demand the transfer of the students [the parents apparently wanted to transfer their other children as well] to other schools, since they withdrew their children from school in violation of the compulsory education law. The judge called this a “severe act of bad hygiene.” I can’t even begin to fathom how offensive and disgusting such a comment is.
While I know quite a bit about similar issues in US schools, I’m less aware of how these matters are handled in Israel. But it seems that a decision as chilling as this should, even must be brought to the Supreme Court. If the school parents treated him with such disrespect and even traumatized him in rejecting his chosen gender, the parents should have every right to protect him from such mistreatment. They should not be under any obligation to continue subjecting him to it.
After the court decision, the school did ask for the student to be transferred. The ministry apparently took little or no action against the school itself for its behavior. It simply wanted to wash its hands of the entire matter. It claimed, as the minister said above, that it did so “for the benefit of the child.” In doing so, it ignored the a report by an expert [presumably a psychologist, though the report does not specify] hired by the parents, saying that the boy, in fact, wanted to stay at the school. The report also indicated that forcing him to leave the school in the middle of the academic year would worsen his mental condition and cause damage.
Orthodox Judaism and Transphobia
Orthodox Judaism is transphobic. It reviles transgenderism. Some of the most revered rabbis declare that God made humans precisely the gender he intended. ANd changing one’s gender somehow defies God. They insist on identifying individuals by their birth gender and refuse to recognize anyone who “crosses over.” This despite the existence of Jewish mystical texts which affirm that female and male spirits dwell in the bodies opposites their gender. Given that the new Judeo-Taliban government is deeply beholden to ultra-Orthodox parties, it’s clear that Kish did this not for the sake of the child. But for the sake of his boss, Bibi Netanyahu, and his governing coalition.
הוצאת תלמיד טרסנג’דר בן 8 מבית הספר בגבעת שמואל – השר יואב קיש השיב ל-@YoraiLahav: “החלטת משרד החינוך התקבלה אך ורק משיקולי טובת הילד”@michalwoldiger@beshevaofficial
@YoavKisch @YBrodny@Yoni_Roten@dviramar2 pic.twitter.com/cVdjLCRyQh
— ערוץ כנסת (@KnessetT) February 1, 2023
This Yesh Atid MK denounced the ministry decision in the Knesset saying:
At the age of 8, a child uprooted from school in the middle of the year, against his will and that of his parents, cutting him off from his familiar social environment, just for being transgender? How is this for his benefit? How does this serve what you defined as the need to treat every student in the state of Israel equally?
Kish released this confused statement which further revealed his complete ignorance of issues of gender identity and child psychology:
The decisions of the ministry of education are made solely based on the best interests of the child. The relationships among LGBTQ individuals, and between men and women–are a phenomenon that must be carefully examined. The ministry of education is obligated to treat the LGBTQ community equally. I want to examine this deeply: at what age this happens, when do you begin to talk about sexual orientation at all. I think that under a certain age you shouldn’t speak with them [children] about these things. Not only LGBTQ individuals, sexual identity in its totality. It is not right in my view to talk of this with a child in first grade [the trans child is in 3rd grade].
Gone are the days when pro-Israel apologists could boast about Israel being a paradise of gay liberation. This government is riddled with homophobia and, in this case, transphobia. That would be bad enough. But this is an 8 year-old child! KIsh’s statement is riddled with ignorance and fear.
This government and its ministers seem intent on poisoning the lives, not only of the LGBTQ community, but women as well. Figures in the governing coalition want separate buses for men and women. Apparently having a woman sit too close to an Orthodox male will cause terrible ideas and uncontrollable urges. And for this, women have to pay the price.
The Judeo-fundamentalists in this government have a serious case of sexual hysteria. They hate sex that doesn’t confirm to the way Adam and Eve presumably did it, and the way the rabbis told them it should be done. And they want every Israeli regardless of religious views. to conform. They envision a state exerting control on its citizens. Even dominating them. Dissenting views will not only not be welcome, they will be suppressed or eliminated. We should call this state: Judeostan.
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