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
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.