Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

22 Cheshvan 5766 - November 23, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Wages Still Withheld at Dozens of Religious Authorities

by Eliezer Rauchberger and ITIM

At 40 religious councils around the country as of late last week, last month's wages had not been paid: four councils had not paid in full and 13 councils had outstanding debts ranging from two months to ten months, according to a report presented at the Knesset Finance Committee by Shlomo Stern, head of the Histadrut's Division of Education and Religious Workers.

The report also reveals that 14 religious councils owe money to local rabbonim. In Ariel, the local rov has not been paid for 14 months. In Yavneh and Metullah, the local rabbonim have not received their wages for ten months and in Mazkeret Batya, the rov has not been paid for three months.

In Telz Stone, religious council workers have not received their salaries for ten months, in Yeruchom seven months, in Bat Yam six months, in Yavneh five months, in Rechovot four months and in Mazkeret Batya three months.

Atty. Meir Shpeigler, religious services commissioner at the Prime Minister's Office, also submitted a report to the committee regarding the withheld wages at the religious councils. His report shows that wages have gone unpaid at 23 religious councils. In the towns of Azor, Ariel, Yavniel, Bnei Ayish, Rosh Pina and Yehud the local rov has not received pay for a period of five to 18 months.

At the end of the stormy meeting, Committee Chairman MK Rabbi Yaakov Litzman announced that he would summon the authority heads of Ariel, Bat Yam, Yehud, Rosh Pina, Chatzor Haglilit and Alfei Menashe to provide explanations why they have not transferred part of the local authority funding to the religious council as required by law, thereby preventing religious council workers and rabbonim from receiving their pay.

As a sign of protest, burial services were suspended on Monday in Chatzor Haglilit, Lod, Alichin and Kiryat Gat. The Histadrut says that every day burial services will be suspended in a different location.

Stern says the actions taken were unavoidable. "We apologize to the families of the deceased but the Prime Minister is the one who is burying the religious councils," he said. "It is unconscionable that at some councils there are workers who have not received their wages for ten months."

Histadrut spokesmen say that after the Religious Affairs Ministry was dismantled, the religious councils came under the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister's Office, "but all of the officials handling the matter, [namely] the Prime Minister's Office and the local authorities, have avoided solving the wage problem."


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