The Education Ministry canceled the latest cut planned for
government schools but left the 25 percent cuts in the
yeshiva budget intact, according to figures presented in an
emergency meeting held by the Union of Yeshiva Managers.
During the budget-cut proceedings only 1.35 percent
reductions in the government education system were announced,
but following a battle by the Teachers Union the Education
Ministry reversed the decision, foregoing the cut. Only the
yeshiva cuts remained untouched.
The Union of Yeshiva Managers says past Education Ministry
cuts were made across the board, including Torah
institutions, while now for the first time the Ministry has
canceled the general cuts and decided to reduce the yeshiva
At the meeting, a report prepared by an accountant was
presented indicating inequality between the yeshivas and
other sectors. The report also shows that cumulative cuts
over the previous three years come to another 25 percent.
The yeshiva managers present at the meeting expressed grave
concerns that Education Ministry heads are showing increasing
estrangement from the Torah world, making cuts out of all
proportion at a time when the yeshiva budget has also been
cut by other ministries. The managers noted yeshiva expenses
are very high since yeshiva studies span twice the number of
study hours at government schools.
MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni said the present Likud government is
guilty of discrimination. "We are continuing to hold constant
meetings with Education Ministry heads to reduce the harsh
blow to the yeshiva world. This deep cut has no justification
any more than at other institutions."
At a meeting of the Knesset Religious Lobby, Deputy Education
Minister MK Uri Ariel (HaIchud HaLeumi) detailed efforts made
to prevent a total collapse of Torah-based educational
institutions including Bais Yaakov, but he acknowledged the
cuts in the chareidi sector are far greater than the cuts in
the general population.
On the issue of overlapping payments he said efforts are
being made to formulate criteria, but it remains unclear how
the payments will be transferred and the amount of the
reductions in yeshiva allocations. He also said efforts are
being made to decrease the cut in talmud Torah
budgets, which exceeds the level of cuts for government