(photo credit: courtesy)
Deputy Finance Minister Itzhak Cohen (Shas) is demanding that the Finance
Ministry conduct inspections into secular cultural and educational institutions
that receive state funding, in the same way that yeshivot do.
with The Jerusalem Post on Sunday, Cohen’s call came in the wake of a recent
inspection at the Beit Shmaya yeshiva in Bnei Brak, where two men walked in on
the head of the yeshiva in the middle of his weekly lesson to the entire student
body, in what was perceived as a highly insensitive and disrespectful move.
Following the incident, heads of yeshivot and haredi Knesset members convened on
Saturday night and issued a call to the Finance Ministry, under which the
inspections take place, to freeze the inspections for a week and draw up clear
and respectful procedures for the inspections.
“Nobody is opposed to
inspections, but they should apply to everyone who receives public funding. Why
only the yeshivot? There should be clear procedures,” he said, noting that he
was already working on compiling such guidelines.
MK Yisrael Eichler
(United Torah Judaism) sent a letter to the same effect to Education Minister
Gideon Sa’ar, asking that inspectors be sent to universities and colleges for
head-counts, to check student ID cards, attendance and hours in the
institutions, as per the procedures of inspection in yeshivot and kollels. If
during such inspections, conducted by accountant firms sub-contracted by the
Finance Ministry’s accountant general, discrepancies are found between the
number of students listed in the institution and those actually in attendance,
the institution can be penalized or even lose its eligibility to receive state
“In addition, the procedure of examining haredi cultural
institutions should be applied to cultural institutions in Israel, and the
number of attendants at such events should be counted.
also be sent to workplaces in the public sector, to see how many employees are
at their place of work during work hours, and cut their salaries in the same
manner funding is cut to yeshivot and kollels,” he added.
reported on Sunday that a number of yeshivot didn’t allow inspectors to enter
their gates that day. Based on these reports, the Hiddush – For Religious
Freedom and Equality group called on the state to revoke such institutions’
The Finance Ministry, meanwhile, gave no indication they were
planning on heeding the decree of the yeshiva heads to stop inspections this
week, though they reiterated their contrition over last week’s Beit Shmaya
“The inspections are to ensure that the support moneys reach
their destination, and are conducted with utmost sensitivity, while retaining
the dignity of those inspected,” a response to a Post query read.
irregular event that happened at the Beit Shmaya yeshiva, which we are sorry
for, is no reason to put an end to these inspections, which are an interest of
all the honest institutions. At the same time, we are examining the
circumstances of that event, to ensure that such happenings do not reoccur,”
read the message.
Regarding the demand that the state inspect its secular
institutions the way it does its religious ones, a spokeswoman for the Finance
Ministry noted on Monday that “there was no change in the current policy,
according to which all of the bodies receiving support in accordance with clause
3a of the Budgetary Fundamentals Law – including cultural, educational,
artistic, scientific and welfare institutions – are subject to inspection.”