Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

9 Iyar 5765 - May 18, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Torah Institutions Now Receiving Funding on Schedule

By Betzalel Kahn

Following the approval of the state budget for 2005 and the implementation of the coalition agreement, according to which the budgets for all Torah institutions—including added funds agreed upon in the budget agreement signed previously—will be included in the basic budget, Torah institutions have begun to receive their monthly allocations on a regular, orderly basis. When the state budget was passed several weeks ago, institutions that had not been receiving advancements due to various audits during the past two years were paid retroactively as of January 2005.

The Education Ministry Support Committee has been holding regular meetings to address matters affecting hundreds of institutions whose funding had been withheld for an extended period. At each of these meetings the Support Committee has been approving payment for other institutions after administrative matters were settled. To achieve these improvements MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni had to wage a prolonged battle with the Finance Ministry, which refused to appoint a special accountant to the Education Ministry's department for Torah institutions.

Eventually Finance Ministry Accountant Dr. Yaron Zilcha agreed to Rabbi Gafni's demand, appointing R' Shimon Hechster, a dedicated senior employee from the Ministry's General Accounting Department who is familiar with the issue of Torah institutions. As soon as he assumed the task— together with department manager Mr. Amos Tzayida and the legal advisors—he worked swiftly to avoid technical delays in transferring the funds.

MK Rabbi Gafni, who remains in constant contact with the Finance Ministry and the department for Torah institutions, helping them overcome various problems that arise periodically, says United Torah Jewry insisted on adding the funding for Torah institutions, including the increases in funding, to the main budget for several reasons: a) to allow institutions to receive the full monthly payment immediately, b) to avoid having to obtain the approval of the Knesset Finance Committee for special transfers to institutions, which has led to incitement by anti-religious opponents, and c) to avoid giving contributors the impression that Torah institutions are constantly receiving additional funding, which is very far from the truth; even now the primary support for Torah institutions comes from the Torah world's generous supporters and not from the Israeli government.

Degel HaTorah is now working to have funding remainders— including the TEAM funds—included in the 2004 budget as agreed upon, in order to make the current budget totally available for regular payments and to increase the monthly sum given to yeshivas and kollelim.


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