Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

6 Kislev 5766 - December 7, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Hot Lunch Program to Include Chareidi Talmudei Torah

by Eliezer Rauchberger

Over 50 MKs signed a proposal by MK Yitzhak Cohen (Shas) that would ensure the hot-lunch program would apply at chareidi talmudei Torah as well.

The law is needed to rectify a High Court ruling led by High Court Deputy President Mishael Cheshin, who determined that children in chareidi institutions are not eligible for the hot-lunch program.

MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni lodged a stiff attack against the government for backing the policy of making children in chareidi educational institutions ineligible for the hot- lunch program. He said the Prime Minister reacted to the situation by saying, "Because these children study at talmudei Torah they won't get food? Maybe we should slap them, too?"

Speaking for the government, in defense of the High Court decision, Minister Meir Shetreet claimed the ruling was based on a law legislated by the Knesset.

Rabbi Gafni said chareidi MKs tried to delay the legislation of the law to eliminate the discrimination it contains. He said the drafting of the legislation was successfully changed to read that the hot-lunch program should be instituted in any place where the extended school day program has been adopted. That was supposed to include chareidi institutions.

Rabbi Gafni said the Education Ministry's decision not to provide hot meals for children in the chareidi education system is clearly illegal, mentioning the Prime Minister's remark made behind closed doors. He asked Shetreet whether the Education Ministry would alter its decision in light of Sharon's stance or whether he says one thing behind closed doors but acts differently in public.

He also made note of the coalition agreement between the Likud and UTJ, which prohibits discriminating against children in the chareidi school system. Does the Likud intend to adhere "to the coalition agreement and rectify the decision?" he demanded. "Don't come to me later with claims that I violate agreements. You are violating [agreements]."

Later, during a discussion on raising the price of bread, Rabbi Gafni said he would recommend that Degel HaTorah support the no-confidence motion on this issue, which failed last week. He said it would be unconscionable for chareidi children to be denied eligibility for the hot-lunch program and at the same time have to pay more for the bread they buy.


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