The Finance Ministry plans to make deep cuts in funding to schools that do not
teach core curriculum subjects, it emerged in Wednesday.
The reforms are
being aimed at haredi schools in particular, which do not teach the core
curriculum subjects of math, Hebrew and English but still receive state
According to the draft of the Economic Arrangements Law — a
government bill presented alongside the budget — haredi schools will need to
dedicate at least 55 percent of school hours to teaching the core curriculum to
receive any state funds.
Schools teaching less than 75% of the basic
studies will receiving just 55% of the funding that schools teaching the full
Haredi schools will also be required to enter pupils
into standardized testing to qualify for government funding.
current arrangement, elementary schools in the Ashkenazi haredi education system
receive between 55% and 75% of the budget received by non-haredi schools and are
expected to teach a corresponding proportion of the state core curriculum. In
practice, the overwhelming majority of haredi high schools teach no secular
The haredi education system is closely guarded by
the community’s leadership, and is viewed as foundational to haredi identity and
“The number of pupils in educational institutes in the haredi
sector is expected to reach 26% of all Israeli pupils by the end of the decade,”
the Economic Arrangements Bill explains.
“The rate of employment and
productivity in the haredi sector are substantially lower than in the general
population, in part because of the absence of basic studies which constitute a
central component in the acquisition of the appropriate tools to enter the job
Under the bill, child daycare subsidies and municipal tax
discounts for households will also be revoked unless both parents are employed
and working to the fullest extent of their capabilities.
Tuesday, Finance Minister Yair Lapid said he was going to war for the working
“The working man has been neglected for too many years and the time
has come to turn the ship around,” Lapid said at a conference of the Institute
for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.
“If someone healthy who can
work thinks he’s exempt from it, he needs to know that we will not pay his
bills,” the new finance minister said.
“If child daycare costs a working
mother NIS 1,000 more than [it does for] a mother who doesn’t work then someone
has sold us out,” he said.
The bill will be presented on Thursday to the
Attorney-General’s Office for approval.
An official within the United
Torah Judaism party described the terms of the bill as “a massive blow to haredi
“It’s a destructive program to harm haredi society and coerce
haredim into a way of life they don’t want,” said the UTJ source.
added that the revocation of child-daycare would lead haredi women, whose level
of employment is only slightly below that of women from the general public, to
leave the workforce.
If the prime minister “continues to let Lapid take
control, the haredi community will not stay quiet much longer,” the official