Stipends for yeshiva students included in budget

Kadima: Netanyahu has broken a new record for cynicism, chutzpa, and disrespect; PMO says changes can be made before final approval.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
October 25, 2010 21:27
3 minute read.
REVERSE DISCRIMINATION: It was simply taken for granted that being a yeshiva student was sufficient

haredi students (do not publish again). (photo credit: FLASH 90)

Kadima responded angrily to reports that money has been earmarked for income support for full time yeshiva students in the 2011-2012 budget which the Knesset is expected to vote on Monday.

The Prime Minister's office said that this section of the budget can still be changed, as Monday represents only the first of three Knesset votes that the budget must pass, Channel 10 reported.

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In a statement released on Monday, Kadima said "Netanyahu has broken a new record for cynicism, chutzpa, and disrespect towards the Israeli public."

Following wide opposition to the bill proposed by MK Moshe Gafni, Netanyahu announced Saturday that the bill would not be voted on by a Knesset committee until it was reworked and on Sunday he said that a committee would be formed to that purpose.

"On Sunday [Netanyahu] announces that he is establishing a committee and on Monday he pushes money for the yeshiva students into the budget. This is a disgraceful standard of deception," said Kadima.

Kadima called on coalition members the Labor Party and all others who voiced opposition to the bill to vote against the budget and prevent Netanyahu and Gafni from operating in opposition to the June Supreme Court ruling which outlawed such stipends as discriminatory.



The Labor Party on Monday vowed to lead the fight against the bill.

"The party is united in the opinion that both the state and the yeshiva students themselves would be better off if they joined the work force. The proposed solution that would offer [university] students equal conditions is merely a trick, which we will not accept," a Labor Party statement read.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai on Sunday declared his support for the proposed income support primarily targeted toward haredi kollel students. The bill in question would also apply to non-haredi, unemployed university students with at least three kids who also do not own their own vehicle.

"We have no objection that [university] students will also receive the benefit. Anyone who would propose otherwise is behaving in a discriminatory way," said Yishai. "The entire goal [of the bill] is to provide support to the tens of thousands of children living below the poverty lin and to close [social] gaps."

Yishai added, "We do not object that every student who studies should receive the benefit. Anyone who would say otherwise speaks out of hatred and to incite."

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday decided to form a committee of experts to advise the government concerning the effects of the new income support bill.

Referring to the bill, Netanyahu said, "There is a situation here that prevailed for 30 years regarding income assurance for ultra-orthodox yeshiva students; this is not new.  It existed under all governments, including those of Yitzhak Rabin, Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, Ariel Sharon, the Kadima government and also my government.  We have been asked by the High Court of Justice to address this issue.  We were told – and I would like to be precise with the High Court's words – you cannot continue with this arrangement without legislation.  Therefore, legislation is called for.

"The new thing that we are trying to do, at this opportunity, is that if we are already legislating on the matter, is to include provisions that would encourage the ultra-orthodox public, ultra-orthodox yeshiva students, to integrate into the workforce," the prime minister said.


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