The conflict that now ensues in the city of Emanuel has little to do with ethnic tensions between Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jewish Israelis. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/138127
Speaking from experience as a social work community organizer who worked in the field in the 1970’s and 1980’s, it would seem that short sighted bureaucratic decisions that were made then are coming home to roost, a generation later.
The idea then was to lump all lower class people into new housing units and into new towns, with the hope that they would get along with one another.
The Israel Housing Ministry and what was then called the Israel Welfare Ministry mixed families with social problems with working families, and also mixed strictly observant Sephardic families with less strictly observant Sephardic families, with the hope that they would get along with one another.
As the more strictly observant Sephardic families began to choose more traditional schools for their children to learn in, they were not interested in welcoming the less observant Sephardic families to attend their schools, which maintained more rigid standards in terms of dress code, television watching, etc.
A particular Sephardic woman in Emanuel whose daughter was rejected by the school in Emanuel because the standards of religious observance of her daughter and of her family did not meet the requirements of the school.
That Sephardic woman is media savvy.
She contacted the New Israel Fund, the Shas Sephardic advocacy party and just about every reporter whom she could get a hold of and claimed that she was being discriminated against because she was a Sephardic Jew.
The NIF, Shas and the media had a field day, which almost universally condemned the school in Emanual for “racist and discriminatory behavior”.
The NIF and Shas, strange bedfellows as they are, sued in the Israel High Court of Justice to demand that the Israel High Court of Justice order the school in Emanuel to admit the less observant Sephardic girls into their school.
The NIF and Shas were successful in their suit, and the Israel High Court of Justice demanded that any parent who refused to send their children to school under such circumstances be jailed.
And, indeed, 61 sets of parents announced that they were ready to go to jail rather than admit the less observant Sephardic girls to the school.
27 of those sets of parents are themselves Sephardic Jews.
Will that fact affect the NIF and Shas? Time will tell.