Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

3 Shevat 5766 - February 1, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











State Comptroller Directs Education Ministry to Pay Guaranteed Income to Avreichim Whose Wives are on Sabbatical

By Betzalel Kahn

The Education Ministry will pay guaranteed income stipends to avreichim whose wives are on sabbatical after State Comptroller and Ombudsman Micha Lindenstrauss issued a directive this week negating a previous directive by Atty. Amnon de Hartog, head of the Justice Ministry's department of support funding, who told the Education Ministry to withhold the stipends pending an inquiry into the matter.

Over a year ago the Education Ministry Guaranteed Income Committee decided to change its policy, discontinuing payment from the teachers' education fund (keren hishtalmut) as of October 2004 to avreichim whose wives are on unpaid leave.

Following efforts by Degel HaTorah's Bureau for Public Inquiry in Bnei Brak, the State Comptroller and Ombudsman determined that the committee is not authorized to alter or cancel an administrative decision in the middle of the school year.

Even after the Comptroller's directive, de Hartog told the Education Ministry not to pay the stipends, claiming that he was looking into the matter. After several weeks MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni contacted the Attorney General and the State Comptroller to ask them to uphold the teachers' rights and the State Comptroller's decision.

On Monday Rabbi Gafni received a reply from the State Comptroller indicating that the Justice Ministry had accepted the stance of the director of the Office of the Ombudsman that the avreichim whose wives filed complaints should be paid for all of the 5765 school year. Nevertheless, the Comptroller notes, the Justice Ministry's remark that "the total sum of family income during the sabbatical year, including the subsistence stipend for guaranteed income for avreichim, should not exceed the family's income in the year preceding the sabbatical year." This stipulation, whose obvious source is de Hartog, shows that he sought every possible way to withhold any money from avreichim, even though the amounts are relatively small and are below the teachers' salaries.

The letter from the Office of the Ombudsman further states the Education Ministry must pay guaranteed income stipends to only the relatively small number of avreichim whose wives are on sabbatical who actually filed complaints. This shows the importance of filing an official complaint when there is an injustice, even when it does not initially appear that there is much hope of redress.


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