By World Israel News Staff
Amidst an uproar in the central Israeli city of Givat Shmuel over acceptance of an eight-year-old transgender boy in a religious elementary school, 17 leading religious Zionist rabbis wrote a letter to the Education Ministry urging that the child be placed in an all-girls class.
From Grades 4 and up, boys and girls attending national-religious public school are separated by gender.
Last week on Friday, a group of parents protested the school’s initial decision to place the child, who was born a female but now identifies as male, in a boys-only class. They were reportedly outraged that they had not been informed of the sex change in advance.
According to one parent, “Why does my child need to know at such a young age that there are things like this in the world?” He added that discovering that “your friend is not what you thought” could “shake up their world.”
In their letter, the rabbis referred to the child as a girl, rejecting what they termed “artificial changes” in sex.
“The girl must be placed in a girls’ class. We must be careful not to hurt her feelings and to be patient with her,” they stated.
“Halachah [Jewish law] does not recognize artificial changes and forbids such behavior. Boys may not dress as girls, and girls may not dress as boys. Therefore, this girl must join a girls’ class. The role of a religious school is to teach the halachah and ensure that students act in accordance.”
The school administration, they added, must “be careful not to wound this girl. One must help her with patience, to recognize the identity in which she was created. Imagination does not change reality, and she should be helped to accept the wonders of Creation and the fact that God created her as a girl and with the privilege of growing up to be a woman and a mother.”
The Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel said that the rabbis’ actions were endangering the child’s mental health, which “could lead to a loss of life, in total opposition to professional and medical authorities in Israel and around the world,” Times of Israel reported.
Israel National News reported that the rabbis said they would have preferred to settle the matter privately with the school and the child’s family, “but since the problem is now in the public domain, there is no way to avoid addressing it in an authorized public way.”