Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

28 Adar I 5765 - March 9, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Government Restores Support for Avreichim Over Age 23

By Betzalel Kahn

Last week the government approved restoring the support funding for avreichim over the age of 23 to the level it was before a reduction last year by making it equal to the amount received by their colleagues age 23 and under. The decision reversed a policy that discriminated against many heads of large families.

Prior to the Cabinet meeting, the issue drew public fire after Labor ministers, particularly Interior Minister Ofir Pines, demanded that the government not raise the issue altogether. Government Secretary Yisrael Maimon noted that the decision will not alter the overall amount of state spending on students at Torah institutions. It just shifts around the money.

After Rabbi MK Moshe Gafni urged the Labor ministers not to oppose the decision the majority abstained, while Pines and Simchon still voted against the change. All of the Likud ministers voted in favor.

In a statement released following the Cabinet meeting, Maimon explained the reasoning behind the decision. "The [previous] government decision reduced the income for these families, whose income was also reduced due to the cuts in Children's Allowances."

The 40 percent slash in support for avreichim over the age of 23 had been intended "to encourage avreichim to enter the job market," yet it did not succeed in driving them out of the beis medrash. Instead it merely exacerbated the families' pressing financial circumstances.

The government still decided to encourage avreichim to seek employment, but as in the past it can be expected that such efforts will not influence the avreichim, who will continue to engage in their learning despite the financial difficulties.

There were reports that a considerable number of chareidi women cannot find employment that they seek. Some take jobs that are below their abilities and qualifications and some do not find work at all.

Attorney Gilad Barnea, a prominent left-wing figure representing students, issued threats this week to petition the High Court to annul the decision. Several months ago Barnea petitioned against "discrimination against [college] students compared to yeshiva students." In a letter to Prime Minister Sharon, Barnea said the recent decision "merely serves as a substitute for Children's Allowances for the chareidi sector, while discriminating against other children in the State. Should the government approve the execution of these moves it would be committing a flagrant and grave act of discrimination among children."


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