Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

13 Teves 5760 - December 22, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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City of Jerusalem Plans Big Cut in Chareidi Education

by Betzalel Kahn

The Federation of the Talmudei Torah warned that it is likely that the budgets of the educational institutions in Jerusalem will be drastically cut, by of tens of millions of shekels, in the year 2000. As a result, it was decided to make an all- out effort to prevent this drastic move, which is liable to undermine all of the achievements of the chareidi representation in the municipality in chareidi chinuch.

The many statistics published over the past months regarding the discrimination against chareidi education in Jerusalem were accorded much attention, especially in Yated Ne'eman. Last week, the Federation of the Talmudei Torah sent the general director of the municipality, as well as the deputy mayors of the city and the heads of the department for chareidi education, data which clearly point to the unprecedented deprivation of the chareidi education, despite Ehud Olmert's repeated promises that he would grant all the children of the city equal educational support.

The general director of the Federation of Talmudei Torah, Rabbi Yitzchok Goldknopf claims that the proposal to cancel the budget for the secretaries and janitors of the Talmudei Torah, as well as the complementary allocation of 244 NIS for pre-kindergarten classes and educational programs, will impose extra obligations on the parents, in addition to the regular tuition they must pay. This plan, they claim, does not coincide with the aim to extend the Free Education Law to children from three and up.

The statistics show that there are currently 68,598 (49.8% of the total) children in the chareidi schools, as opposed to 68,925 (50.2%) in the combined secular and mamlachti dati schools. At the elementary school level, the discrepancy is even larger: 36,109 children in the chareidi system (56.4% of the total) as opposed to 27,880 in the secular and mamlachti dati schools (43.6% of the total). Another interesting statistic: Out of the 36,109 students in the elementary school system of the chareidi sector, the Talmudei Torah constitute the majority, with 22,375 children in the Talmudei Torah (62%), as opposed to 13,734 students in the recognized educational system (38%). In the kindergartens there is an even greater increase: 15,989 children in the chareidi education system (62.1), as opposed to 9745 students in the secular and the mamlachti education (37.9%)

The Department for Chareidi Education claims that findings which point to serious discrimination against the chareidi educational system, as opposed to the secular and mamlachti dati system have been presented to a professional committee which is formulating the plans for the cuts. The department claims that due to the transfer of the findings, the mayor has told the committee not to approve the plan until the data have been examined by the municipality's treasury.

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