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We are writing concerning a judgment of the Minors Court in Venice, Italy in the case of Nitzan and Danielle Dulberg. This devastating judgment will separate these two young Israeli girls from not only their mother, but from their Israeli culture and their religious heritage, forcing upon them a way of life that is not in accordance with their will. Most shocking, this decision by the Venice Minors Court was based on little more than the vilification of traditional Judaism. In our opinion the Court has separated the girls from their mother alleging that she "belongs to a religious cult," namely Orthodox Judaism. This is a libelous and utterly untenable assertion.
Among other rulings, the Court has forbidden the girls to speak Hebrew, even to their own mother, and has demanded that they attend a non-Jewish school. Nitzan and Danielle will be prevented from having any connection to their Jewish traditions with which they identify deeply.
We are shocked and dismayed by this denial of the girls basic rights and by this prejudice towards the Jewish religious community. The fact that an arm of the Italian justice system would depict the Jewish religious community as a dangerous cult that mistreats children is not only completely false and misleading, it perpetuates the ancient prejudice towards religious Jews, with all its serious consequences.
The anti-religious attitudes and the conduct of this Court which has ridiculed Orthodox Jewish practices and demonstrated the most callous treatment of the two Dulberg girls is appalling. The violation of their basic right of freedom of religion is in contravention to the UN International Convention on the Rights of the Child and defies the image of the Italian justice system as an enlightened and modern democracy. Refusal of the Court to admit the evidence of distinguished Israeli legal scholars and reliable authorities who would present Orthodox Judaism as it truly is, a religion that advances values that benefit children and teaches educational values, love of G-d, respect of parents and love of man, is unconscionable.
In the interest of upholding the image of the Italian justice system as enlightened and democratic, we respectfully urge you to take every step necessary to see that the Court decision libeling Orthodox Judaism and denying the Dulberg girls their basic human rights is overturned. Depicting a community in Israel as one that acts against the good of children is a perverted distortion that encourages hate and prejudice and should be repudiated.
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