Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

13 Ellul 5763 - September 10, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Mosdos HaTorah Facing Budget Crisis
by Betzalel Kahn

At a Yeshivas' Union meeting last week at the organization's Bnei Brak offices a report was presented on the increasingly harsh economic decrees against the yeshiva world--including budget cuts by the Finance Ministry and scheming by the Education Ministry--that are leading to severe financial strain at mosdos HaTorah. Another issue raised at the meeting was Minister Orlev's recent estrangement from the yeshiva world, signified by his moves against institutions with dormitory facilities which has a severe impact on all institutions for boys above the age of 13 since virtually all of them have dormitories.

The yeshiva directors on hand discussed the imminent existential danger to the yeshivas, saying the banks are pressuring mosdos HaTorah heads and threatening to cut off their credit line, while some suppliers have stopped providing essential services. Participants at the meeting also spoke of the crisis caused by long delays in paying salaries and stipends as well as sharp, arbitrary cuts by the Finance Ministry.

This month the Ministry of Religious Affairs will stop providing support funding for the yeshivos ketanos, based on directives by the Attorney General. According to promises made, these funds will be provided by the Education Ministry instead, but so far the status and amount of this funding remains unknown.

Grievances were voiced against the Education Ministry which, starting this month, will cut funding by 25 percent. Meanwhile the minuscule budget cut for government schools was cancelled.

Heads of Torah institutions expressed hopes that the Education Minister, known in the past for assisting chareidi education, will work hard to undo the discriminatory budget cuts and not take part in bringing the Torah world's educational institutions to the point of collapse.

Roshei yeshivos and yeshiva directors issued impassioned calls to Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu not to go down in history as a minister who lent a hand to the present trend of unprecedented alienation from the Torah world, which is totally unrelated to the state of the national economy. They told Netanyahu that no previous finance minister has ever dared to institute such drastic, unbalanced budget cuts that threaten to bring about the collapse of the Torah world--ever the pride of the Jewish people and its foremost wall of defense.


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