Sources in the Bayit Yehudi party say they are optimistic that the NIS1.2 billion budget for yeshivot, currently controlled by the Ministry of Education, will be transferred to the Ministry of Religious Affairs which the party is demanding in coalition negotiations.
The transfer of yeshiva funds to the Ministry of Religious Affairs is part of an overall plan by Bayit Yehudi to bring different authorities and religious frameworks back under the auspices of the ministry, which the party is insisting on as one of the terms for joining the coalition.
A spokesman for the Yesh Atid party, which has set control of the Ministry of Education as an extremely high priority in the negotiations, refused to comment on the matter.
The Religious Affairs Ministry was dismantled in 2003 as part of coalition agreements between Tommy Lapid’s secularist Shinui party and Likud. It was re-established in 2006 but was stripped of several crucial departments, including the state conversion authority, the rabbinical courts system, and the chief rabbinate. It’s budget is currently NIS 400million.