Government to Release Millions of Shekels to National-Religious Yeshivos

YERUSHALAYIM -

A coordinated move by the Finance Ministry and the Education Ministry to release funding to the yeshivos will effectively exclude chareidi institutions.

A written promise from the Finance Ministry to the Yeshivot Section of the Ministry of Education for the transfer of 65 million shekels — out of the 500 million that was cut from the state budget — was timed to coincide with an announcement by the latter that eligibility will be rated by the yeshivos’ encouragement of students’ military recruitment. Since the chareidi Roshei Yeshivos have declared unequivocally that they will not do so, it means that little or none of the money will reach them.

The decision came following reports of an intensive lobbying effort by Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party to gain the approval of coalition partner Finance Minister Yair Lapid for restoration of at least some of the funding which had been taken away from the yeshivos.

However, the outcome belied the pledge made by Bennett’s party—-and reiterated after the decision—-that they would fight for all the yeshivos, both charedi and national-religious.

“We will continue to fight until the complete implementation of the two principles we presented – no damage to Zionist yeshivas, and minimization of damage to chareidi yeshivos,” sources in Jewish Home said. “We believe that the Torah does not belong to a certain sector but to the entire Jewish people.”

Bennett has been under pressure from the religious leaders who supported Jewish Home in the election to restore devastating funding cuts to the yeshivos.

Even the national-religious yeshivos have not been promised the full amount they believe should be coming from negotiations with the Finance Ministry. The funds transferred represent only half of the money that Zionist yeshivas are supposed to receive, in proportion to Jewish Home’s seniority in the coalition. Another 65M are being held up by the Yesh Atid party, which controls the Finance Ministry.