A Belgian court has sided with Neturei Karta Rabbi Moshe Aryeh Friedman in ordering an all-girls Jewish school, Benoth Jeruzalem, to admit his sons. If not, the school must pay a fine of 1,000 euros a day, the court said in its ruling on December 21.
The school’s director has told reporters that a decision would be made soon on how to respond.
But this all may become moot, if local lawyer Henri Rosenberg has his way. According to the Belgian Jewish weekly Joods Actueel, Mr Rosenberg recently petitioned Antwerp family services to urgently consider removing the Friedman children from their father’s custody, based on allegations about Friedman’s mental state.
Friedman, a rabbi from the extremist Neturei Karta sect, was invited by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinedjad to his “International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust,” in 2006 in Tehran. Afterwards, he was treated as persona non grata by the Jewish community in his then home city of Vienna. His children were effectively barred from Jewish schools there. The Friedmans reportedly moved to Antwerp in 2012.
Now, Friedman has been trying to get his children into Jewish schools in Antwerp, to no avail. Friedman allegedly wanted his daughters to go to a religious school for boys, and his sons to go to a religious girls’ school, according to Joods Actueel.
The paper reported last week that a New York religious court had issued a siruv (contempt of court ruling) against Friedman for allegedly advocating that Antwerp stop religious schools from separating boys and girls.
The siruv from New York was reportedly posted in 35 synagogues in Antwerp, and called on Orthodox Jews around the world to avoid contact with Friedman. The Jewish court cited Friedman as wanting to “serve as role model…. So that other boys could be registered in the religious school for girls.”