With a majority of coalition votes, the Knesset plenum
defeated a no-confidence motion filed by United Torah Judaism
due to "scheming and cutting off electricity at Michtav
MeEliahu schools and kindergartens in Ohr Yehuda."
Sixty-four coalition members, include Shas MKs, voted against
the no-confidence motion, and only 28 MKs from the opposition
supported it. The five MKs from Meretz and MK Talab El-Sana
UTJ MK Rabbi Yaakov Cohen, who presented the no-confidence
motion, described the situation as an ongoing scheme against
the school and the chareidi education system, which reached
its peak when the electricity was shut off at a chareidi
school in Ohr Yehuda attended by over 500 students. The
school has been without electricity for two months.
"The cruelty and rigidity that lies behind this measure
defies description," said MK Rabbi Cohen. "That in Israel in
the 2000s children sit bundled in jackets, studying in the
dark and the cold, especially during the unusually cold days
we've been having lately [is shocking]. I think there can be
no greater shame."
Education Minister Yuli Tamir, who responded in the name of
the government, said the electricity had been reconnected and
all that remains is the problem of a debt amounting to NIS
30,000 ($8,000). This sum was transferred to the Ohr Yehuda
municipality by the Interior Ministry, and the school must
submit a request in order to receive the money as a one-time
support payment. In the future there should be no problem and
the money will be transferred in an orderly fashion without
any need to request a support payment.
Tamir said originally the school lacked licensing and only
later was it recognized by the municipality. MKs Rabbi Gafni
and Rabbi Cohen objected, saying that the school has been
operating for decades and the Minister was confusing it with
another school, but Ms. Tamir insisted she was not
"The State of Israel is a country that develops
[sophisticated] missiles and has [top] scientists. Yet this
country does not know how to connect the electricity?" asked
Rabbi Gafni. "The Education Minister says the school has a
debt to pay...This is a debt that the local authority owes
for not paying the electricity bill...What do we need a
government for if not to take care of schools?
"Does anyone imagine such a thing could happen at a school
that's not chareidi? We filed a no-confidence motion over the
government's racism. Over the fact that there's a difference
in the State of Israel between chareidi children and non-
The electricity at the Ohr Yehuda school was reconnected on
Monday on a temporary basis until February.