Members of the Degel HaTorah Executive Board and rabbonim
from the Vaad Ruchanis convened at Degel HaTorah Headquarters
in Bnei Brak to discuss issues currently on the agenda.
At the beginning of the meeting strong opposition was voiced
against introducing civil marriage for non-Jews. Justice
Minister Daniel Friedman has declared that an agreement he
recently reached with the Chief Rabbinate to allow civil
marriage for non-Jews is really the start of a move towards
making civil marriage available to Jews as well. Degel board
members denounced the dangerous proposal, which was approved
without consulting with gedolei Yisroel shlita. Just a
few days earlier a cooperative agreement was reached between
UTJ and Shas, yet on such a central, sensitive and fateful
issue unilateral actions were taken against the will of
maranan verabonon and yirei Shomayim in Eretz
Yisroel and abroad.
Later MKs Rabbi Avrohom Ravitz and Rabbi Moshe Gafni related
the developments that preceded the successful passage of the
law to renew for another five years the legislation allowing
military deferrals for yeshiva students. The law (known as
the Tal Law) was passed last week in a sweeping 56-9 vote.
The two MKs noted that unlike in the past no efforts were
made to instigate against lomdei Torah — neither
in the Knesset nor in the media — and called for a
careful review of how vital campaigns can be waged without
having to contend with secular anti-chareidi incitement.
The focus of the meeting was a long, spirited discussion
regarding the grave decrees against chareidi education and
Torah institutions which led two weeks ago to a violent
incident against a chareidi MK. Rabbi Ravitz and Rabbi Gafni
noted that a few years ago an attempt was made to alter the
way of life and education of the sons and daughters of the
chareidi public, but now that certain government officials
have arrived at the conclusion the chareidi public will not
budge even a hair's breadth from the instructions of
gedolei Yisroel, they are trying to undermine chareidi
education by depriving chareidi institutions of due
During the meeting surveys were presented of the decrees
threatening chareidi institutions, including the yeshivos
ketanos, which face the threat of total closure if a
legislative solution is not found or the High Court ruling
prohibiting funding to them is not postponed; transportation
funding for Chinuch Atzmai schools, which has yet to be
transferred despite the government decision of several months
ago; the new directive to reduce the number of students at
schools based on licensing terms — clearly an attempt
to diminish the number of students enrolled in the chareidi
schools system and which is unheard of in the government
school system; a Justice Ministry directive straight from
Atty. De Hartoch to immediately stop all funding at 25
Chinuch Atzmai schools (although not paying teachers'
salaries is legally prohibited without giving advance
notice); and demands to submit planning and construction
certificates, engineering certificates, forms and
instructions for kindergartens and educational institutions.
All of these schemes are plainly intended to deprive chareidi
and Torah institutions of funding in any way possible based
on distorted interpretations of old laws, regulation
proposals and guidelines that have become obsolete.
Various actions were agreed upon in order to contend with
these decrees through legal means, legislation and public
campaigns after receiving direction and guidance from
gedolei Yisroel shlita.