Eli Yishai, Tess Scheflan
Eli Yishai Photo by Tess Scheflan
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The Immanuel school-segregation affair may feature less prominently in the public discourse than it did earlier this year, but instances of ethnic discrimination within the ultra-Orthodox community continue to emerge.

Interior Minister and Shas chairman Eli Yishai called this week on United Torah Judaism lawmakers - including Knesset Finance Committee chairman Moshe Gafni and Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush - to set up a joint Ashkenazi-Sephardi rabbinical panel to protect "girls in general, and those of Eastern origin in particular."

The proposal first emerged six months ago, amid the furor surrounding the refusal of a religious girls' seminary in Immanuel, a West Bank settlement, to admit students of Mizrahi (Middle Eastern ) descent. It has now reappeared due to a similar instance in the settlement of Modi'in Ilit, where Mizrahi female high school students have been denied admission to the local seminary.

Yishai wrote in his letter to UTJ lawmakers, "As public servants we should, I believe, act with the requisite urgency to create this committee for the sake of our dear daughters and Haredi society itself. God help us if we play into the hands of those evildoers in the sanctified field of education."