Haredi family 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The senior rabbinic leadership of the Tekuma Party – a constituent of the Bayit
Yehudi Knesset faction – has issued a letter to the party’s leaders calling on
them not to agree to the imposition of core curriculum subjects in haredi
schools and not to expand the electoral committee for selecting the chief
Tekuma represents the more conservative element – both
religiously and politically – of the national-religious political spectrum. The
party is represented in Bayit Yehudi by MKs Uri Ariel, Eli Ben-Dahan, Zvulun
Kalfa and Orit Struck.
According to a draft of the Economic Arrangements
Law – a government bill presented alongside the budget – haredi schools will be
hit with swinging cuts in funding if they do not dedicate a requisite number of
hours to core curriculum subjects such as math and English.
majority of haredi schools teach very limited amounts of secular studies to
The four Tekuma rabbis – Dov Lior, Haim Steiner, Iser Kalonski,
and David Hai HaCohen – took exception to the proposals in the arrangements law,
saying that the study of Torah is a “source of life and oxygen for the existence
of the Jewish people and the State of Israel.”
The rabbis said that
everything should be done to strengthen Torah study in quantity and quality and
added that they were calling on the Bayit Yehudi MKs to oppose the imposition of
teaching core curriculum subjects in “Torah institutions.”
unthinkable that we would be partners to the demands to harm the budgets of
these Torah institutions, whether they are Zionist or haredi elementary schools,
high schools or yeshivot.
“The independent [haredi] school system and
haredi elementary schools should not be harmed, and the content of the education
programs should be left alone to be according to what has been accepted for
generations in the hands of those who guide this educational framework,” the
They also expressed opposition to expanding the committee
that elects the country’s chief rabbis, as has been proposed by various MKs in
order to dilute the power of haredi representatives on the body.
rabbis said that “alien considerations” should not be given space within the
election process for the chief rabbis, saying that such moves would erode the
standing and validity of the chief rabbinate.
The conservative wing of
the national-religious leadership is opposed to the candidacy for chief rabbi of
Tzohar founder and chairman Rabbi David Stav, whose liberalizing tendencies are
not in accordance with the views of the Tekuma rabbinical
Expanding the electoral body would principally favor Stav
over other candidates currently considering running for the position.
is the conservative rabbinical leadership that has pressured the party into
exploring the possibility of nominating Rabbi Yaakov Ariel as the
national-religious candidate for the chief rabbi position.
The chances of
Ariel being nominated drastically dropped this week however, as the 76-year-old
rabbi made a public admission that his age – beyond the maximum age of 70 –
would pose a considerable legislative barrier to his running for the position.