Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

11 Teves 5768 - December 20, 2007 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Knesset Education Committee Discusses Funding for Yeshivos Ketanos

By Eliezer Rauchberger

The Knesset Education Committee held a meeting to discuss the budget for yeshivos ketanos whose students do not participate in the Core Curriculum Program and do not study secular subjects.

Several months ago the Knesset plenum approved a UTJ- sponsored bill to make arrangements for the funding of yeshiva ketanoh students, after the High Court determined that this funding should be stopped where secular studies are not taught. On 8 Teves the Education Committee considered the bill and prepared it for a first reading.

MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni, who requested the meeting, said that UTJ would like to alter the law given preliminary approval as a government education law by transforming it into a mandatory study law, before the first reading. The yeshivos ketanos would have the status of exempt institutions and would receive 55 percent of regular funding, and the law would be amended to extend the funding for supported students, i.e. children from development towns and crisis neighborhoods, and for special-ed students, who need special assistance at the yeshivos ketanos.

UTJ members explained that students from development towns and special-ed students, who are given extra support in the other education systems, should not be discriminated against simply because they attend yeshivos ketanos.

The Education Ministry's legal advisor expressed opposition to the legislation and asked for a delay pending the High Court decision on the matter in order to see whether it accepts the basic decision to fund the yeshivos ketanos as exempt institutions. The advisor also claimed that the Education Minister is making efforts based on her authority to fund exempt institutions to provide funding for special-ed students enrolled at exempt yeshivos ketanos.

A Reform representative who participated in the meeting said that she objected to the legislation, but MK Rabbi Avrohom Ravitz replied irately, "Who do you represent at this meeting? Who invited you here? You're a tiny minority and your stance is of no interest to anyone and does not represent anyone. What are you doing here in the first place?"

MK Rabbi Gafni also protested her involvement, calling out, "Why are you interfering in this issue? I'm against hypocrisy and evil."

Both Rabbi Ravitz and Rabbi Gafni left the committee hall until she had finished speaking.

Committee Chairman Michael Melchior and Knesset members agreed to wait for the High Court decision, expected in another two weeks, before continuing the discussions.


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