Wednesday, February 13, 2019

UK: London’s Jewish Housing Association Defeats Discrimination Challenge

Via Hamodia:
A ruling issued by the Divisional Court of the High Court of Justice in London, made public on Tuesday, has upheld the right of an Orthodox Jewish Housing Association to allocate housing exclusively to Jewish families.

Agudas Israel Housing Association (AIHA) was founded to serve the U.K.’s Orthodox Jewish community and builds, part-owns and manages properties in London, Salford and Canvey Island.

The claimants against AIHA, who are not Jewish, had wanted to be allocated a home in AIHA’s new Aviv development in Stamford Hill, but were not given the chance to bid. The claim against Hackney London Borough Council and AIHA, challenged AIHA’s policy of allocating its social housing properties on the basis that they precluded any persons who are not members of the Orthodox Jewish community from becoming tenants. The claimants applied for a Judicial Review of the case.

Following a detailed investigation of the social housing market, and the specific characteristics of Hackney’s Orthodox Jewish Community, including anti-Semitism and religious needs, the Divisional Court ruled that AIHA’s policy was lawful and found against the application for Judicial Review, concluding that AIHA served a specific need and tried to do so with access to only 1 percent of Hackney’s social housing stock

In what is potentially a landmark ruling, the court recognized that Orthodox Jewish community members’ way of life requires them to live close by each other as a community – to the extent that many prefer to live in unsuitable properties rather than to move away from their community.

It also sadly acknowledged widespread and increasing overt anti-Semitism in society and prejudice, including in the private rental sector, specifically against Orthodox Jews, due to their higher visibility as Jewish.

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