In California, a Court Rules against Jewish Families and for Religious Discrimination

In accordance with state law, the California government sometimes pays private schools to educate children with disabilities whose particular needs cannot be readily met by the public schools—so long as those private institutions have no religious affiliation. Such a qualification, argue Maury Litwack and Michael A. Helfand, violates the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence of the last six years. So too claim two Jewish schools and three Jewish families who challenged the law’s constitutionality in a federal district court, which recently ruled in favor of the schools. Litwack and Helfand criticize the decision:

The state outlines, in its laws, the various requirements regarding the educational quality and content a school must provide in order to become state-certified. There is no reason to assume, by definition, that religious schools cannot provide [appropriate] education. If other private schools can do so, religious schools should be given the same opportunity. Failing to do so, regardless of how it is described, is just another way to practice religious discrimination. Moreover, the government cannot circumvent this constitutional violation by simply saying it has the right to select which schools to contract with.

Indeed, the Supreme Court—in a case curiously omitted in the federal court’s opinion—explicitly rejected this argument in a 2021 decision. Requiring that schools not be religious in order to qualify for government contracts and student referrals is, again, just another form of religious discrimination.

Most disturbing are the consequences of this discrimination. As the court recognized, some of the plaintiff parents have alleged that their inability to send their special-needs children to a religious, state-certified school—one that can provide all the pedagogical benefits afforded by any other private school—has meant that the students’ progress is impeded because of their absences for religious holidays.

Even worse, the public schools continue to serve the unwitting children non-kosher food even as the parents have reiterated their religious objections to teachers. And maybe worst of all is the continued insinuation of California’s law that religious schools, willing and able to assist these students with disabilities, are somehow not worthy of joining the effort to provide special-needs children with an environment geared to helping them reach their potential.

Read more at Jewish Journal

More about: American law, California, Day schools, Education, Freedom of Religion

Why the White House’s Plan to Prevent an Israel-Hizballah War Won’t Work

On Monday, Hizballah downed an Israeli drone, leading the IDF to retaliate with airstrikes that killed one of the terrorist group’s commanders in southern Lebanon, and two more of its members in the northeast. The latter strike marks an escalation by the IDF, which normally confines its activities to the southern part of the country. Hizballah responded by firing two barrages of rockets into northern Israel on Tuesday, while Hamas operatives in Lebanon fired another barrage yesterday.

According to the Iran-backed militia, 219 of its fighters have been killed since October; six Israeli civilians and ten soldiers have lost their lives in the north. The Biden administration has meanwhile been involved in ongoing negotiations to prevent these skirmishes from turning into an all-out war. The administration’s plan, however, requires carrots for Hizballah in exchange for unenforceable guarantees, as Richard Goldberg explains:

Israel and Hizballah last went to war in 2006. That summer, Hizballah crossed the border, killed three Israeli soldiers, and kidnapped two others. Israel responded with furious airstrikes, a naval blockade, and eventually a ground operation that met stiff resistance and mixed results. A UN-endorsed ceasefire went into effect after 34 days of war, accompanied by a Security Council Resolution that ordered the UN Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to assist the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in disarming Hizballah in southern Lebanon—from the Israeli border up to the Litani River, some 30 kilometers away.

Despite billions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer support over the last seventeen years, the LAF made no requests to UNIFIL, which then never disarmed Hizballah. Instead, Iran accelerated delivering weapons to the terrorist group—building up its forces to a threat level that dwarfs the one Israel faced in 2006. The politics of Lebanon shifted over time as well, with Hizballah taking effective control of the Lebanese government and exerting its influence (and sometimes even control) over the LAF and its U.S.-funded systems.

Now the U.S. is offering Lebanon an economic bailout in exchange for a promise to keep Hizballah forces from coming within a mere ten kilometers of the border, essentially abrogating the Security Council resolution. Goldberg continues:

Who would be responsible for keeping the peace? The LAF and UNIFIL—the same pair that has spent seventeen years helping Hizballah become the threat it is today. That would guarantee that Hizballah’s commitments will never be verified or enforced.

It’s a win-win for [Hizballah’s chief Hassan] Nasrallah. Many of his fighters live and keep their missiles hidden within ten kilometers of Israel’s border. They will blend into the civilian population without any mechanism to force their departure. And even if the U.S. or France could verify a movement of weapons to the north, Nasrallah’s arsenal is more than capable of terrorizing Israeli cities from ten kilometers away. Meanwhile, a bailout of Lebanon will increase Hizballah’s popularity—demonstrating its tactics against Israel work.

Read more at The Dispatch

More about: Hizballah, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden