Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

12 Iyar 5763 - May 14, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Emergency Conference in Netanya about Gezeiros 5763
by G. Kleiman

The nationwide battle against this year's decrees was to open on Tuesday afternoon when hundreds of yeshiva directors and school principals arrived at the Galei Tzanz Hotel in Netanya to participate in a National Emergency Conference to protest coldhearted plans by the Sharon government to undermine the yeshivas and other chareidi educational institutions. The conference is expected to reach operational decisions on specific legal steps to take in the fight against the plan that threatens to bring about the collapse of hundreds of yeshivas and other institutions in Eretz Yisroel, chas vesholom.

Because of the no-confidence motion filed by United Torah Jewry and Shas in the Knesset on Monday night, the Union of Yeshiva and Torah Institutions Directors postponed the conference by one day to allow MKs to take part. Gedolei Torah are slated to address the rabbonim, roshei yeshivos, MKs, public figures and heads of the Union of Yeshiva Directors who are taking part in the conference. The participants will also be presented with detailed reports on Sharon's plans to cut funding for yeshivas and Torah-based educational institutions. They will also be updated on the March and April payments that have yet to be transferred to hundreds of institutions.

Religious Lobby Chairman Rabbi Shmuel Halpert said Monday night, "The plan, commonly known as an `economic plan' for some reason, is essentially a plan to starve hundreds of thousands of Jewish children. The current Sharon government has made a strategic decision to systematically destroy the chareidi sector. The Gezeiros of 5763 have nothing to do with an economic plan, since in order to cut the budget the government has received alternative proposals, including those made by Bituach Leumi. It is inconceivable that while Torah institutions and Child Support Payments ["kitzva'ot yeladim"] are being subjected to such deep cuts, and funding cuts are being made that will result in the collapse of families and [educational] institutions, they are bringing thousands of goyim into Israel and investing billions in this. We must unite forces against the government and fight against this despicable plan."

According to the Bank of Israel's Department of Research, "Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's economic plan will not achieve even half of its goals" with regard to the budgetary deficit. Experts at the bank say even if the plan is executed in full it would reduce the deficit by merely NIS 5 billion ($1.1 billion), while the Finance Ministry declared two months ago it aimed to cut a total of NIS 11 billion from the budget.

According to experts the economic plan intends to reduce the deficit this year to less than 5 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) which would be NIS 25 billion, while the anticipated deficit in the government budget could total NIS 30 billion.

A survey by the Bank of Israel also indicated that the economic recession is continuing, although the capital market has shown marked improvement, alongside revaluation in the dollar rate and a decrease in inflation forecasts. It remains premature to determine whether this points to a shift in economic activity, say the experts.

On Monday in the Knesset, United Torah Jewry and Shas MKs launched a harsh attack in the Knesset Finance Committee against the government and the Finance Ministry for their plans to cancel the birth grant ["ma'anak leidah"] starting with the second child.

Secular MKs also joined the attack, calling the proposal bizarre since it would only save NIS 170 million of the NIS 240 million Bituach Leumi pays birthing mothers every year.

Committee Chairman MK Avraham Hirscheson asked to hear Bituach Leumi Director-General Professor Yochanan Shtessman's opinion on the matter. Shtessman declined to relate his position in detail, saying only that he was opposed to the proposal. Welfare Minister Zevulun Orlev rejected the claim by MK Rabbi Litzman that the proposal was integrated into the economic plan in response to demands by Shinui.

MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni remarked, "How could the hand of the person at the Finance Ministry who drafted this proposal not have trembled? Were this decree only against the chareidi sector perhaps it would have been understandable, since the chareidi public is fair game. Its blood has been let by the present government. But here we are speaking of every mother who gives birth, whether she is chareidi or secular. Whether she lives in a development town or in Herzliya or North Tel Aviv. Why did you make this proposal? Why strike out at the birthing mother, who needs every cent to buy basic, primary needs for the baby?"


All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.