Next week the Knesset Education Committee will meet to
discuss a law currently being prepared for a first reading
that addresses the budget for yeshivos ketanos.
The High Court recently ruled that the budget for the
yeshivos ketanos should be discontinued. The ruling
was in response to suits filed by the Israeli Reform movement
claiming funding should be cut off because they do not offer
any secular studies.
The Education Ministry Director-General at the time sought to
table a law in the Knesset that would allow funding of
yeshiva ketanos to continue based on a bill drafted in
coordination with senior jurists. As a result of an order
issued by the Education Minister the bill was not tabled by
the Education Ministry, but MKs from UTJ and Shas tabled the
bill instead, bringing it before a plenum session for a
preliminary reading with backing from the Prime Minister.
Maranan verabonon issued instructions not to continue
with the bill as it was passed in a preliminary reading,
telling Vaadas HaRabbonim LeInyonei Chinuch to rewrite it.
Several reasons were given: First, its inclusion as an
amendment to the general the Government Education Law (rather
than a law on its own) was liable to lead to attempts to try
to introduce into the yeshivos ketanos principles from
the government education system that are not accepted in the
Torah world. Second, even if there is not full coercion,
incentives could be given to induce institutions to add
secular studies in order to receive increased funding.
Vaadas HaRabbonim met with UTJ Knesset members and Shas
ministers, to explain to them to present the law in an
altered form. The law for the yeshivos ketanos should
be independent of the Government Education Law they said, and
the curriculum should continue according to the traditional
formula passed down throughout the generations, which
excludes secular studies, etc.
According to Knesset regulations, the text of a bill can be
changed while it's being prepared for a first reading.
Therefore MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni and MK Michael Melchior,
chairman of the Education Committee, have agreed that next
week the committee would discuss the new form of the bill to
be presented by Vaadas HaRabbonim.
Yeshiva ketanoh heads are hoping that the legislation
process will be accelerated in order to avoid budget problems
as well as harm to the traditional ideology followed
throughout the generations.