Ponevezh Yeshiva 521.
(photo credit: Philippe Bellaiche)
Haredi politicians and media have reacted furiously to deep cuts to stipends
received by yeshiva students which are due to take effect this month.
2012, full-time married yeshiva students received NIS 900 a month, while single
students received 500 shekels a month in government stipends, while in 2013, the
stipends were reduced to NIS 720 for married students and NIS 400 for single
As of this month, married students will now receive just NIS
279 while single students will get NIS 139, the Association of Yeshivot has
Although the cuts were expected, a source in United Torah Judaism
said that the reduction was expected to be not more than 50 percent.
and the haredi media have denounced the cuts and are blaming Bayit Yehudi and
its chairman, Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett, in particular for
failing to prevent the steep decline in funding.
Bayit Yehudi officials
would not comment directly on the accusations that they had allowed deeper cuts
to yeshiva stipends than promised, but a source in Bayit Yehudi told The
that the cuts will possibly be ameliorated to some degree by
“extra-budgetary funds” slated for yeshivot.
Officials in the Association
of Yeshivot expressed skepticism about such claims.
UTJ MK Yisrael
Eichler said Bayit Yehudi politicians were acting as the “dirt rags” of the
Treasury and Finance Minister Yair Lapid, and called on the party to topple “the
evil government” and leave the coalition in order to prevent budget cuts to
yeshivot and child allotments.
“Bayit Yehudi people went around [saying
they had] a commitment from the Treasury to provide an extra NIS 130 million for
yeshivot beyond what was [included] in the budget,” Eichler
“This gave them a pathetic excuse to support a cruel budget that
harms their own children.”
Eichler continued, taunting Bayit Yehudi for
being part of a government that released “100 murderers with blood on their
hands and [acquiesced] to advanced talks for the establishment of a Palestinian
state on the ruins of their own homes,” two sensitive topics for the
national-religious party and its voters.
“With the breaking of these
commitments, the Bayit Yehudi people have become the dirt rags of Lapid and
Bibi,” Eichler said.
“They’re using you like a ‘use and discard’ product.
Today they’re using you to burn the sanctuaries of Torah and tomorrow your
‘brothers’ will chuck you from your houses in the settlements, as they are
accustomed to, but ‘sensitively.’” A spokesman for Bayit Yehudi said in response
to Eichler’s comments, “It is better to deal with matters one wishes to resolve
with sensitivity and responsibility, and not with hasty statements to the media,
and we hope that MK Eichler also understand this.”
MK Uri Maklev, also of
UTJ, said that nothing Bayit Yehudi’s leaders said could be
“This is an integrated war, these cuts are not only in the
budget but are designed to chop off every branch of the Torah and the yeshivot,”
Maklev told haredi newspaper Yated Neeman
“This government, a government
of destruction, evil and annihilation, is not fitting to support the Torah
world. It cannot be forgotten that supporting the yeshiva world is not only
righteous act but one which is a merit as well.
“This merit as well they
do not have and as this government wages war against the Torah world, it just
intensifies and sharpens the depth of the divisions between us,” declared
, one of the largest selling haredi dailies and the
mouth piece of the Degel HaTorah party, one of the two constituent parties of
the UTJ Knesset faction, said the cuts represented an almost complete
liquidation of yeshiva student stipends and part of a campaign of unceasing
In its Monday editorial, the paper wrote that the results of
the cuts to stipends would be “the starvation of Torah students” and that the
purpose of the cuts was “coercive conscription on the one hand and breaking the
taps on the other.”
“Two hands gripping on tight in order to strangle.
One is of Lapid’s party, the other is that of Bennett’s.”
The paper wrote
that anyone who cuts yeshiva budgets or enables “such evil people is
participating in a crime for which it is worthy of being cursed.”