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JFS: What the lawyers said

    The case For JFS

    “The refusal to offer a place at JFS to M was on the ground that he is not Jewish as a matter of religion. JFS applies the criteria stated by the Chief Rabbi, who is not concerned with whether a child is Jewish as a matter of race, or ethnic origin, but is concerned with religious status.”

    The case against JFS
    “The school does not give priority to children whose families are ‘members of the Orthodox Jewish religion’. Indeed, a child with no religious belief at all but born of a Jewish mother would be admitted. This shows that the ground for the less favourable treatment is ethnic origins, and not religion or belief.”

    On behalf of the Board of Deputies
    “The Board has grave concerns about the consequences of the Court of Appeal’s judgment for many aspects of Jewish life in this country, not limited to Jewish faith schools.”

    “An Orthodox youth organisation might be prevented from only employing, as youth leaders, those who were Jewish according to its own religious principles.”

    “The courts should be extremely slow to interpret the Race Relations Act 1976 in a way that interferes directly and fundamentally with the way in which all Jewish denominations choose to define their membership.”

    “All of the major denominations within Judaism do not distinguish between a person’s status as Jew from that of his or her descent.”

    On behalf of schools Secretary Ed Balls

    “Parliament cannot have intended in passing the Race Relations Act 1976 that Muslim or Christian faith schools could give preference to members of their religion but not Jewish or Sikh schools.”

    “It is difficult to see any situation in which Parliament can have intended acts of Jewish or Sikh religious bodies to be unlawful but where other major religions could lawfully carry out the same acts.”

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