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Religious Schools Cannot Fire Single Teachers Who Are Pregnant Through In Vitro Fertilization, Israeli Labor Court Rules

It is a groundbreaking and courageous ruling.

Yesterday, the Tel Aviv Labor Court ruled that a Zionist Orthodox girls high school was wrong when it fired an unmarried teacher in 2009 for becoming pregnant through in vitro fertilization (IVF) Ha’aretz reported, even though Israeli law allows religious schools to consider religious values when making personnel decisions.

The court decreed that “the right to be a parent, the freedom to work, and human dignity and liberty” supersede the religious schools right to refuse to expose students to alternative family models.

The school did not consult with the Education Ministry’s Religious Education Council before firing the teacher. Even so, the council backed the school after the fact and was named a defendant in the suit against the school. The school and the council are now deciding whether to appeal the local Labor Court’s ruling to the National Labor Court.

Some Modern Orthodox and Zionist Orthodox rabbis allow single women to have an IVF pregnancy in narrowly defined circumstances after the fact, and the school did not claim that the woman had violated Jewish law. It instead argued that she was setting an improper example for the students.

The school’s Jewish law authority, Rabbi Haim Druckman, was asked in court by the fired teacher’s lawyer what made a single woman’s IVF pregnancy a worse example for the girls than spinsterhood or divorce. Druckman reportedly replied that while both those of those problems were regrettable, “a teacher who doesn’t have children hasn’t done anything negative that contravenes our Torah outlook. [The plaintiff] did something negative.”

The court rejected Druckman’s claim.

“When the values of the defendant and its desire to preserve these values are pitted against a teacher who is not committing an act of protest but simply wants to realize her right to parenthood, the desire of the teacher to be a parent must in this case be given priority. The plaintiff cannot be excluded just because of this…when her colleagues who are single and/or divorced are not excluded by the defendant even though they are not living ‘traditional’ family lives,” it ruled.

This is reportedly the first time an Israeli court has ruled against a religious school in a matter like this.

Source:  Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com

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Posted by on March 5, 2013. Filed under Israeli News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.