Ten years after a petition was brought before the High Court against a paragraph in the Guaranteed Income law applying to kollel students and after the petitioner had already passed away, the High Court suddenly handed down a precedent-setting decision to delete the paragraph, claiming there must be "equality between avreichim and college students."
The ruling disregards funding discrimination against the chareidi public and Torah institutions compared to all other sectors, and marks the latest maneuver in an unremitting battle the court system is waging against the Torah-true public.
The High Court's brow-raising decision joins indefatigable efforts to intervene in the Torah-based education system to alter the curriculum and the age-honored approach to Jewish education. The ruling, which was backed by six judges, stipulates that starting with the 2011 budget, Guaranteed Minimum Income payments will be canceled — a decision that threatens to affect 11,000 kollel families, who may lose monthly payments of NIS 1040.
The High Court claims that although the paragraph has been in place for years, it now appears that the manner in which the state grants Guaranteed Income is illegal. "The funding paragraph established in the budget law that provides for Guaranteed Income is unlawful and cannot be included in the 2011 budget," read the decision.
The decade-old petition was originally filed by Arnon Yekutieli, a Jerusalem city councilman waging an anti-religious battle, who died nine years ago.
To explain why it suddenly "occurred" to them to issue a decision after so many years had elapsed, the judges said, "This extended period was needed in order to clarify the factual and legal basis for the petition and to enable various figures and entities, including the executive and legislative branches, to assess the extent of their involvement in the matter and to render the judicial decision superfluous."
Chareidi public figures said the reason for the delay was to wait until the time was ripe, adding that the recent atmosphere of incitement against lomdei Torah, particularly avreichim, laid the groundwork for the hostile decision, which undercuts the already meager income on which thousands of families subsist.
The petition argues that avreichim enrolled in kollelim are entitled to minimum income payments, whereas college students are not eligible and this makes them illegal.
MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni pledged to work for a solution to the problem, perhaps introducing legislation.