Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

29 Kislev 5760 - December 8, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Battle to Stop Deprivation of Chareidim in Ashdod

by B. Rabinowitz

Publicity about the Forum of Ashdod Chareidi Institutions as well as the launching of a battle against Ashdod Mayor Tzvi Tzikler due to the shocking discrimination against Ashdod's chareidi sector has had far-reaching repercussions. At the same time, appreciation of the Forum's vital activities on behalf of Ashdod's chareidi residents has been expressed.

On the 24th of Cheshvan, Yated Ne'eman published a special report compiled by representatives of Ashdod chareidi institutions and accountant Rabbi Moshe Bibleh. This report disclosed shocking details about the Municipality's discrimination against Torah and chareidi educational institutions as well as budgeting for cultural activities.

Results of the professional examination of the 1999 Municipal Budget indicates that each student in the state secular (mamlachti) or state-religious (mamlachti-dati) school receives NIS 1238 per year from the Municipal treasury, whereas each student in the chareidi educational system receives only NIS 121 -- less than 10 percent!

In cultural activities for chareidim, the gap is greater. While a student from the non-chareidi sector receives NIS 972 a year for cultural activities, a chareidi student receives only NIS 77.

The comparison in the overall funding is as follows: Of the entire school system, 58 percent of the city's students study in secular schools, 18 percent in national religious and 24 percent in the chareidi system. The secular and state- religious schools thus have 76 percent of the total students. However, the Educational Administration of the Municipality of Ashdod distributes the budget as follows: Secular and state-religious schools receive 97% of the total budget, while the chareidi sector receives only 3 percent!

Money for cultural activities should be distributed according to overall population figures, and not just the number of students. According to the official figures, 82 percent of city residents belong to the general sector and 18% to the chareidi sector. However, the Municipality gives the budget for cultural activities as follows: 98 percent to the general sector and the chareidi sector receives only 2 percent.

After the Forum of the Chareidi Institutions reached the conclusion that all of their quiet efforts have not been successful, a decision was made to launch a sharp public battle in order force an end to these shocking disparities. Ashdod Municipal Spokesman Avi Hausman conveyed the Municipality's reaction, saying that Mayor Tzvi Tzikler has received the letter with these disclosures and is studying its content.

The Spokesman also noted that the issue would be discussed within accepted Municipal frameworks. "There is no doubt that the issue will receive swift attention due to the fact that discussions on the budget for the year 2000 are soon to take place," he said.

Representatives of the Forum of the Chareidi Institutions said that the extended Forum will meet within a few days to decide upon its future course of action.

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