In a rare joint effort, the chareidi yeshivos, along with the Religious Zionist yeshivos and hesder programs have petitioned the High Court to revoke last week’s peremptory suspension of yeshivah funding by Finance Minister Yair Lapid.
Lapid’s order to cut funding came immediately following a High Court ruling that the government should stop funding yeshivos with 18-20 year-old students who received draft calls and did not enlist, even though they acted on the direction of Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon.
“Hundreds of institutions and thousands of students are bound by a harsh decision which affects them directly, yet they were not party to the proceedings before the decision was made — even though there was nothing preventing the court from allowing them to be present,” Attorney Betzalel Smotrich, legal counsel for the joint effort, stated on Sunday.
“The judges did not hear the voices of the people in their decision. The factors and implications behind the move did not take the people into account. This is in stark contrast to all of the halachos and all principles of justice,” he said.
The yeshivos further asked that the funding cut for February — which had already been authorized — be reinstated and transferred to the appropriate institutions. Only then should the proceedings begin anew, this time, with the affected parties involved in the decision-making process.
The petition noted that the decision — taken without any prior notification — did not seem to take into account the severe harm caused to these institutions, which are responsible for paying the salaries of thousands of employees, including teachers, administrators, maintenance and supply staff. Once the funding was stopped, the institutions were suddenly left without the means to meet these payrolls.
In particular, the petitioners called the court’s attention to the plight of avreichim who depend on their monthly stipends to feed their families.
The petition represents some 18 Zionist yeshivos, comprising 3,000 students, 1,300 chareidi educational institutions with thousands of students, and 60 hesder yeshivos with 9,500 students.