Finance Ministry Plans Huge Cuts in Yeshivah Funding

YERUSHALAYIM -

An internal Finance Ministry document obtained by Hamodia (Hebrew edition) reveals that plans are afoot for a cut of some 44 percent, about 400 million shekels, in the funding of yeshivos.

Another 50 million shekels are to be cut through suspending all funding for yeshivah students who are foreign citizens. This amounts to an average cut of NIS 387 per student per month.

Meanwhile, in other budget arrangements that are to affect the chareidi public, the Finance Ministry has postponed some of the harsher measures by enacting gradual implementation, among them suspending arnona (property tax) discounts and subsidies for day care. Under the new criteria, if both parents do not work (i.e. the father learns in kollel) the municipality will not offer discounts in fees that are determined on a sliding scale for the entire population.

Initially, the Finance Ministry wanted to cut the arnona subsidies in half for 2014, but the new document shows that that cut has been revised to 33% in 2014, 66% in 2015 and 100% in 2016. As for day care subsidies, the ministry plans to delay the cut by one year, to the beginning of the 2015 school year. The ministry insists the reason for the delay is technical and not a change in their stance.