Israel’s Higher Education Council (HEC) refused to allow Mordechai Zevulun, a religious man confined to a wheelchair with progressive muscular atrophy, to attend a chareidi college where gender-separation is observed. Such colleges are strictly reserved for people who learned in chareidi schools and yeshivos, he was told.
In despair, Zevulun appealed to Education Minister Naftali Bennett.
“I’m not asking to impose on anyone else, only that I and many like me should be able to learn in separate environments provided by many places,” he said. “Why am I stopped from doing this?”
“I am disabled from birth due to muscle atrophy and it is very important for me to learn a profession and earn a living, to not be dependent on the state, and to turn from a recipient into a provider,” he continued. “But I am placed in an impossible situation whereby I must choose between preserving my Jewishness and a professional life. I ask for your immediate intervention so that today, I can begin studying in a separate-gender setting and begin a normal life.”
HEC told Bechadrei Chareidim that Zevulun could not be admitted into a chareidi college because such institutions were set up exclusively for the chareidi public in order to raise their academic level.
“In light of this, it is clear that we cannot deviate from the guidelines regarding chareidi educational frameworks even in unfortunate cases like the one brought to our notice,” HEC said.