MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ) 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Following recent reports that the Finance Ministry has suspended inspections of
state-funded yeshivot, MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) insisted that he
was in favor of such inspections, as long as other state-funded institutions are
also put under similar scrutiny.
Procedures for ensuring the number of
students declared by state-funded yeshiva high schools and kollels (yeshivot for
married students) correlates with the actual number of students in attendance
were made more stringent early in 2011. This followed the exposure of a number
of incidents in which some 37 yeshivot were found to have falsely inflated their
student numbers in order to receive more state funds.
procedures included requiring students to always carry their ID cards and
locking the doors of the yeshiva when the inspection was under way. In some
cases, people who were not students were called to the yeshiva with false ID
cards when inspections began to fill in the discrepancy between those registered
and those in attendance.
On Tuesday, Haaretz reported that inspections
have not been restarted since they were suspended in June. The suspension was
initiated following an incident at Beit Shmaya yeshiva in Bnei Brak, when
inspectors interrupted a lesson being given by the head of the yeshiva, which
sparked outrage from haredi MKs.
Following the incident, a number of
haredi lawmakers, including Gafni, demanded that guidelines be drawn up to
prevent such incidents from occurring.
A spokesman for Gafni told The
Jerusalem Post that the legislator “wants inspections and demands inspections,
but they shouldn’t just be for the yeshivot. It is degrading that only yeshivot
should be examined in this way. How does the state know that when it funds
institutions like [the national theater] Habimah, that the money gets to the
right people? “As long as the inspections are carried out in an equal way and in
a respectful way then there is no problem,” his spokesman added.
Finance Ministry said that new inspection guidelines were being drafted to
increase their effectiveness and to avoid interrupting the
Following the imposition of the stricter inspection procedures,
the number of registered students receiving state stipends declined by 6.5
Shahar Ilan, vice president for the Hiddush religious equality
lobbying group, called for the inspections to be renewed
“United Torah Judaism is battling for the right of numerous
yeshivot to steal from the state,” he said. “Instead of the haredi leadership
coming out against this terrible phenomenon of yeshivot falsely reporting the
number of their students and taking money from the state through deceit, it is
doing everything to enable the that this practice continues without
“The inspections must be restarted immediately to ensure that
they will and have to be carried out in the most efficient manner.”