Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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20 Teves 5760 - December 29, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Rabbi Gafni: "The Government Must Meet the Demands of Shas; But Shas Should Leave the Coalition

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

"UTJ, which is currently in the opposition, has made agreements on issues which are vital for the entire chareidi and religious sector, both for Shas and UTJ. I call on the Finance Minister to respond to the legitimate demands of Shas for its educational and religious needs, and I call on Shas to withdraw from the coalition. Don't sit with Barak in order to benefit from the amenities of being in the government. He has trampled on Shabbos," said Rabbi Moshe Gafni at a deliberation on the Law of Arrangements and the budget.

He said that since the founding of the State, no Prime Minister has ever ordered Shabbos desecration like Barak. "Yitzchok Rabin intervened when I turned to him regarding a component which was supposed to be transferred on Shabbos, and said that there wouldn't be Shabbos desecration. In a Jewish State it can happen that a Prime Minster has to intervene in such an issue. But that a Prime Minster will interfere an hour-and-a-half before Shabbos and say that a turbine should be transferred on Shabbos indicates that there was some sort of trick here."

Rabbi Gafni mentioned Barak's campaign slogans: "Money for health, and not for the settlers; Money for education, and not for the chareidim," and his more recent: "No man on earth can overpower me."

Gafni also said: "UTJ is now in the opposition after having withdrawn from the coalition, where it held no positions. We took no positions so that we would have no personal incentive to remain, since we knew that a situation might arise in which we would have to withdraw. We didn't assume positions as ministers, deputy ministers or committee heads. We were willing to forego everything, and when the Prime Minster did what no other Prime Minister in the history of the state dared to do, we withdrew."

He then quoted the remarks of the Education Minister that the chareidi education in the State encompasses 13.1% of the students, while the percentage of the budget it receives from the Ministry is only 3.9%. Its share of the sums that are granted to the local authorities for education is 0%. These statistics indicate that every chareidi child receives only a quarter of the support given a child in the secular stream.

"Worst of all is that they say that Bnei Brak is the poorest city in the country because its residents chose poverty. This is a downright antisemitic lie, because a child from Bnei Brak receives a quarter of the support given a Ramat Gan child. All this money stems from the same State budget which is supposed to be equal and up-to-date."

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