(photo credit: Courtesy)
A furious Shas is demanding the Finance Ministry draw-up guidelines for their inspections in yeshivot, after a reportedly unsavory visit of two inspectors at a Bnei Brak institution.
According to the rabbis and students of the Beit Shmaya yeshiva, two inspectors showed up at the school on Wednesday around noon, in the middle of the “general lesson” to the entire student body, taught by the venerable Rabbi Shlomo Englander.
According to what Shas chairman Avraham Michaeli relayed on Thursday, the men wouldn’t agree to wait until the end of the session, and one of them entered the study hall and stood next to Englander, who observed the intrusion, but chose to ignore it and continue teaching.
The visitor then apparently chose to leave on his own volition, without conducting the inspection.
Following the incident, Englander sent an angry letter to the Education Ministry, with copies to Shas and United Torah Judaism Knesset members.
Though headed by an Ashkenazi rabbi, Beit Shma’ya is a yeshiva composed largely of Sephardi students.
The financial support yeshivot receives from the state is determined
based on the number of students registered at the institution. The money
is paid by the Education Ministry, but the ongoing supervision over the
correlation between the number of students in the books and in the
institutions is carried out by an accountant firm, sub-contracted by the
Finance Ministry’s accountantgeneral.
The past year has seen a tightening of the supervision over the yeshivot, after a few largescale swindles were exposed.
“Shas will not rest until an investigation of the incident, and the
formation of procedures to determine general attendance at yeshivot,” a
message from the movement read.
Early Thursday afternoon, Shas had initially pointed a finger at the
Education Ministry for the conduct, but throughout the day Education
Minister Gideon Sa’ar assured Michaeli that his office was not behind
that inspection, which was described by Englander as extremely
Michaeli added that Sa’ar spoke with Accountant-General Michal
Abadi-Boyano, and demanded that she draw-up clear procedures to avoid
such occurrences in the future.
Deputy Education Minister Menahem Eliezer Mozes also condemned the
incident, and said he will demand clarifications from the Finance
The Finance Ministry acknowledged that the inspectors were working under
the auspices of the accountant-general, and explained in response to
the criticism that “inspection of the numbers of students in yeshivot is
by essence [a] surprise inspection, hence the importance of it taking
place immediately upon the inspectors arriving at the inspected
“At the same time, the inspection does not mean to disrupt the normal
course of study, and if there was a disturbance, the matter shall be
examined,” a message from the ministry read.
Late on Thursday, a spokesman for head of the Knesset’s Finance
Committee UTJ MK Moshe Gafni said that the accountant-general told Gafni
they would apologize to Englander.