California Shouldn’t Keep Special-Education Funds from Its Religious Citizens

In a California federal court, three Jewish families and two Jewish day schools are suing state and local educational authorities over a state law that bars funds earmarked for education for the disabled from being directed to religious private schools. Michael A. Helfand believes they have a strong case:

Under the federal Individuals with Disabilities and Education Act (IDEA), states receive federal funds to support students with disabilities. To remain eligible for those funds, states must establish rules to ensure that every special-needs child receives a free and publicly funded education. Most of the time, states satisfy this obligation through the public school system, serving children with varying learning needs.

The problem, however, is that public schools sometimes lack the resources, infrastructure, and expertise to meet the needs of some special-needs children. In California, under such circumstances, school districts partner with state-certified private schools. The process for certification is relatively intuitive, with nearly all the requirements related to the ability of the school to serve special-needs children. But one stands out: a school must be both nonpublic and nonsectarian.

[According to recent Supreme Court decisions], failure to treat religious institutions neutrally constitutes a form of religious discrimination prohibited by the First Amendment. . . . Violating the First Amendment’s prohibition against religious discrimination is bad enough. To deploy such discrimination to prevent willing institutions from supporting the most vulnerable is unfathomable.

Read more at City Journal

More about: California, Day schools, First Amendment, Jewish education

Israel’s Retaliation against the Houthis Sends a Message to the U.S., and to Its Arab Allies

The drone that struck a Tel Aviv high-rise on Thursday night is believed to have traveled over 2,000 kilometers, flying from Yemen over Egypt and then above the Mediterranean before veering eastward toward the Israeli coast. Since October, the Houthis have launched over 200 drones at Israel. Nor is this the first attempt to strike Tel Aviv, only the first successful one. Noah Rothman observes that the Houthis’ persistent attacks on Israel and on international shipping are largely the result of the U.S.-led coalition’s anemic response:

Had the Biden administration taken a more proactive and vigorous approach to neutralizing the Houthis’ capabilities, Israel would not be obliged to expand to Yemen the theater of operations in the war Hamas inaugurated on October 7. The prospects of a regional war grow larger by the day, not because Israel cannot “take the win,” as President Biden reportedly told Benjamin Netanyahu following a full-scale direct Iranian attack on the Jewish state, but because hostile foreign actors are killing its citizens. Jerusalem is obliged to defend them and the sovereignty of Israel’s borders.

Biden’s hesitancy was fueled by his apprehension over the prospect of a “wider war” in the Middle East. But his hesitancy is what is going to give him the war he so cravenly sought to avoid.

In this context, the nature of the Israeli response is significant: rather than follow the American strategy of striking isolated weapons depots and the like, IDF jets struck the port city of Hodeida—the sort of major target the U.S. has shied away from. The mission was likely the furthest-ever carried out by the Israel Air Force, hitting a site 200 kilometers further from Israel than Tehran. Yoel Guzansky and Ilan Zalayat comment:

The message that Israel sent was intended to reach the moderate Arab countries, the West, and especially the United States. . . . The message to the coalition countries is that “the containment” had failed and the Houthis must be hit harder. The Hodeida port is the lifeline of the Houthi economy and continued damage to it will make it extremely difficult for this economy, which is also facing significant American sanctions.

Read more at National Review

More about: Houthis, Israeli Security, U.S. Foreign policy