(photo credit: Courtesy)
Part-time kollel students will from now on be eligible for a government
allowance, after Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar on Tuesday signed a new
regulation to this effect.
Until now, only full-time kollel students met
the criteria for the state funding.
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The ministry termed the move “part of
the efforts to encourage haredi men to join the workforce,” and said it hopes
the change will encourage men to get parttime jobs, while continuing to receive
stipends for the time they spend learning Torah.
The total budget
allocated to kollel students will not be increased with the new regulation, the
MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) slammed the new
regulation, and said that “the stipend for kollel students, paid to them for all
their lives, is a total distortion and should be cancelled.
“Not only do
[university] students receive no funding from the state, but most of them are
forced to work for their livelihood during their studies, and also serve in
military reserve duty,” he continued.
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“There is no reason that tens of
thousands of healthy haredi men will not serve in the IDF or work.
new arrangement by Sa’ar will not solve the problem at hand, just increase the
wheeling and dealing that has recently begun to be exposed,” he
But the Masorti (Conservative) Movement was supportive of Sa’ar’s
“While kollel student stipends should be immediately
cancelled, the new regulations have a logic that should be heeded,” the
movement’s CEO, Yizhar Hess, said Tuesday night.
“The kollel students
should be encouraged to assume responsibility over their lives, and leave a life
of inactivity for one of work. Such incentives might help that happen, and
diminish the need of many kollel students to lie to the tax authorities and God,
while admitting that the life of Torah study does not suit everyone, and
certainly not for one’s entire life.
“We support Sa’ar, and expect him to
gradually eliminate the corrupting stipends,” Hess added.
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