Antwerp Jewish parents demand teacher’s ouster over Facebook post

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — The parents association of a Jewish school in Antwerp demanded management fire a teacher who made an apparent anti-Semitic statement on Facebook.

The parents made the demand in a letter they wrote earlier this week to Moshe Mund, principal of the Jesode Hatora – Beth Jacob school in Antwerp, the Belgian Jewish monthly and news website Joods Actueel reported Sunday.

In the letter, the parents requested Mund fire Nathalie van Parys, a teacher at the school, who wrote on her Facebook account about parents of children attending the publicly-funded Jewish school.

“They are mega-racists themselves,” she wrote in commenting about an article that concerned the $1,000 that parents at her school and others are required to pay annually for security.

In her Flemish-language post, van Parys used the word “volk,” which means ethnicity, nation or people. “The most difficult and unworldly people I know,” she wrote.

In its letter, the parents association wrote: “The parents reacted with shock and frustration to this display of intolerance and hate. Such demeaning, anti-Semitic remarks are unacceptable in a democracy. That these statements came from faculty is just unbelievable.”

The parents asked Mund to “apply sanctions” against the teacher, adding: “For us, it is unacceptable that she teach.”

Jewish public schools in Antwerp – home to a predominantly Orthodox community of 18,000 — employ a secular staff, which is mostly non-Jewish and is entrusted with teaching pupils mandatory subjects according to the Belgian federal educational requirements and that of the Flemish Region. These schools, where boys and girls are taught separately, also have a Jewish staff that teaches children Jewish studies and Hebrew in accordance with Orthodox religious laws.