The police’s National Fraud Squad raided a number of haredi (ultra-Orthodox)
yeshivot on Sunday morning that are suspected of falsely enrolling students to
obtain millions of shekels in grants from the state.
The institutions in
question are located in Jerusalem and Betar Illit, a haredi enclave in the West
Police arrested five people and seized documents, computers and
expensive cars belonging to the heads of the yeshivot. Additional arrests are
Investigators accused the religious institutions of swindling
the state for millions of shekels by enrolling fictitious
Police have recently cracked down on attempts by haredi
institutions to deceive the Education Ministry by submitting paperwork for
students who do not exist or who are not enrolled. In March, police arrested
three haredi men from Jerusalem for creating a fake yeshiva and enrolling dozens
of “students” to receive the living stipends for full-time Torah
Ultra-Orthodox students who learn full time in approved
institutions can qualify for grants of at least NIS 3,000 per month depending on
factors such as the size of their family.
The practice of providing
living stipends to haredim has drawn ire from university students, who counter
that the government should support them during their studies as
Rabbi Uri Regev, head of the religious freedom activist group
Hiddush, blamed haredi rabbis’ reluctance to condemn the practice for the
continued attempts to fraudulently obtain funds.
“The result is that in
the haredi public it enables the perception that the state funds are abandoned
and it’s permissible to spend them fraudulently,” he said.
that even if the ultra-Orthodox do not support the state they should redirect
the funds to improve existing haredi education rather than enriching the corrupt