Despite the protestations of Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman that his decree to exclude kollel families from state daycare subsidies was not meant to harm the chareidi community, it emerged on Tuesday that the measure is indeed targeted against them.
The chairman of United Torah Judaism, MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni, expressed outrage at the manner in which the cuts are being made, which is clearly discriminatory:
“The cat is out of the bag. Students from religious Zionist schools will continue to be subsidized in daycare centers, and students from the chareidi public will not be subsidized. Lieberman, Bennett and their partners hate chareidim, and what they are doing is wrong in every way,” he charged.
Liberman on Tuesday ordered that NIS 55 million ($17 million) be allocated to efforts to cope with domestic violence, and claimed that the slashing of daycare subsidies would cover the costs.
The Finance Ministry said the money will go toward establishing new shelters for battered women, programs for violent men, and increase the number of social workers dealing with domestic violence.
It did not explain the different treatment being given to chareidi versus other groups.
Last week, Liberman announced plans to change eligibility rules for receiving daycare subsidies for children up to age 3, effectively ending them for some 21,000 children whose fathers are full-time yeshiva students, and threatening those families with serious financial hardship.
The finance minister said the subsidies will be granted only if both the child’s parents work at least 24 hours a week. Currently, only mothers must meet this requirement for a family to receive the monthly subsidy of NIS 1,000 ($305), with fathers exempt if they are involved in studies.