Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

26 Tammuz 5767 - July 12, 2007 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Justice and Education Ministries Makes Unreasonable Demands On Chareidi Schools

By Betzalel Kahn

Just two days after the Central Bureau of Statistics published a report forecasting a continued rise in the number of students at chareidi schools in Eretz Yisroel (see "CBS Predicts in Five Years Every Third Child Will Be Enrolled in Chareidi Education System") the Justice and Education Ministries are doing everything in their power to undermine the chareidi education system in Israel, which teaches hundreds of thousands of students al taharas hakodesh.

A series of decrees and unreasonable requirements issued this week by the Education and Justice Ministries proves once again that legal figures at government ministries are perturbed by the success of chareidi education and are making every effort — shrouded in the mantle of legality — to strike at chareidi schooling, sometimes with obvious discrimination and sometimes bent on evil and other dubious motivations.

Just weeks ago the Education Ministry's Deputy Accountant General sent a letter to Chinuch Atzmai with a demand to reduce the number of students at the Shuvu school in Nes Tziona. The reason given: 178 students are currently enrolled whereas the license calls for a maximum of 160 students.

There are no known reports of such a demand ever being directed towards a government school. But when it comes to a Chinuch Atzmai school, the Ministry warns, "In the event this is not remedied, in the 5768 school year the funding for the surplus students will be deducted and we will recommend revoking the license."

Another irrational demand was recently conveyed by the director of licensing requests for recognized-but-unofficial institutions. She demanded a rental contract or certificate of use for all of the structures used by institutions that had applied for license renewals for the coming school year.

A structural use certificate is essentially a document attesting to the structural soundness of the entire building. Landlords and tenants generally do not save these documents, and in some cases the schools operate out of old rented buildings built decades ago and searching for the structural certificates can be nearly impossible. Whether such demands have ever been issued to non-chareidi schools classified as recognized but unofficial is also unlikely.

Furthermore legal advisors at the Justice and Education Ministries recently issued a new decree coming directly from Atty. Amnon De Hartoch, who serves as the Education Ministry's head of support funding and is constantly meddling in affairs outside his jurisdiction as part of his efforts to harm chareidi education.

The directive was issued by Education Ministry Accountant- General Motti Maruz to Chinuch Atzmai's general accountant and calls for funding payments for 25 chareidi schools to be completely frozen for not upholding the Core Curriculum Program.

How a government official reached such a decision, which contradicts a High Court ruling, remains unclear, since in the event a chareidi institution opts not to meet the Core requirements its funding is cut proportionately to its actual curriculum, whereas in this case De Hartoch ordered a total funding freeze.

Why Atty. De Hartoch is interfering in Chinuch Atzmai budget affairs, which are governed by the Budget Law and not through support funding, also remains unclear. Apparently he is overstepping his bounds because of a drive to sabotage chareidi education at any price.

MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni said on Monday after pointing out the severity of the matter to Education Minister Yuli Tamir and Ministry Director General Shmuel Abuav the two promised to treat the situation very seriously, but have taken no measures so far. "With the exception of a formal statement that the chareidi education system is illegitimate, the Justice and Education Ministries have said it all," says Rabbi Gafni. "Of course the government education system wouldn't check how many students are enrolled and whether the number falls within the number stipulated in the license. Of course nobody in the Education Ministry is asking for construction certificates from secular institutions. The entire government system is seeking to strike at the pure chareidi education system and Amnon De Hartoch is the most dominant figure among them. Beyond a doubt the Education Ministry's attitude toward the chareidi education system stems from the CBS report indicating that in another five years one-third of Jewish students in Eretz Yisroel will be chareidim."

According to a Justice Ministry spokesman, Atty. De Hartoch's responsibilities are determined by his superiors. Regarding the suspended funding for 25 educational institutions the spokesman said the issue of 100 percent funding for the Chinuch Atzmai Center corporation where the Core Curriculum Program is not being followed 100 percent is currently under review. Recently it was found that the Attorney General's directives from four years ago have not been implemented. In short it was determined that the level of funding would be set according to the level of implementation of the Core Program and that adjusting the funding would be carried out gradually until the beginning of the 5768 school year.

The Justice Ministry also says Atty. De Hartoch was not involved in the Education Ministry directives to schools regarding construction certificates from institutions or the matter of enrollment exceeding the limit listed in the license.

The Education Ministry did not comment.


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