Student Protest 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
`Students and MKs spoke out on Tuesday against government efforts to slip a tax
on college scholarships into the arrangements law, with the Kadima Party calling
for the cancellation of the addition.
Kadima Director-General Yohanan
Plesner called on Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser “to act like a public servant and
stop taking part in spin-doctoring on behalf of the prime minister’s bureau. The
only solution to this saga is the absolute cancellation of the taxes on student
For his part, Hauser accused Plesner of ignoring the
facts, stating that only scholarships over NIS 90,000 would be taxed, and any
scholarship totaling less than this amount would not be affected at
In response, Plesner said that “as usual, the prime minister’s
bureau is doing what it does under pressure: spouting off lies.”
added that “the amendment to the arrangements law levies a tax on all
scholarships from foreign sources and does not include any exemptions for
scholarships totaling less than NIS 90,000 per year.”
The existence of
the clause in question, #46 in the arrangements law, was announced by Kadima on
Monday evening. The Prime Minister’s Office has announced that the clause would,
in effect, cancel taxes on all scholarships less than NIS 90,000, and affix a
25% tax on those greater than that sum.
Knesset Education Committee head
Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) called for the permanent cancellation of the
clause, saying that “the attempt to hide this clause within the arrangements law
shows its weakness. Someone in the Finance Ministry understood that this clause
would not be passed as a bill on its own.”
National Student Union head
Itzik Shmuli said that while he understood why the government would want to
avoid a situation where people use “scholarships” to pay salaries to workers,
“it must be stipulated that scholarships from outside sources will not be
subject to tax, with no room for interpretation.”
News of the scholarship
tax clause emerged Monday night while nearly 10,000 students were holding a mass
protest in Jerusalem against the Knesset’s approval of stipends for married
full-time yeshiva students.
Held under the banner “We’re not suckers,”
the demonstration was part of a series of protests launched by students across
the country over the past week against the supplements.