Ono Academic College’s CEO and founder, Ranan Hartman, was recently interviewed by Elliott Gotkine, Bloomberg Television’s former editor. Among other topics, they covered the issue of the moral dilemma involved in gender segregation on Ultra-Orthodox Campuses.
Hartman noted that his overarching aim in creating Ultra-Orthodox Campuses is to help this community emerge from poverty, creating an economic leadership that can dialog with the rest of Israel. He faced the reality that the Ultra-Orthodox will not pursue higher education if it requires that they study on a mixed-gender campus. While Hartman’s strong preference is that male and female students study together, and maybe one day this will happen, he was realistic in pursuing his long-term goal of Ultra-Orthodox integration into Israeli society and the short term compromises necessary to make this happen.
Quoting Proverbs 22:6, Hartman said that a prime directive in education is to teach the learner according to his or her individual way, not the way of the teacher. As such, if there are no separate campuses for women, the Ultra-Orthodox students will not come, perpetuating poverty and lack of career advancement. Ultra-Orthodox women, in particular would suffer from this dynamic, being relegated to jobs like shopkeeper or school teacher. Hartman noted that over the last 17 years, Ono has helped Ultra-Orthodox women acquire prestigious careers working as lawyers, accountants, bankers and politicians. He recalled that MK Omer Yankelevitch, the first female Ultra-Orthodox cabinet minister, is a graduate of Ono.
This portion of the interview can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hQPsea71gM