Bayit Yehudi rebuffs haredi offer to make a deal on yeshiva budget

Shas and UTJ offer in return a promise not to replace Bayit Yehudi in the coalition if they are dismissed for compromising on budget.

July 11, 2013 14:45
1 minute read.
A letter from haredi leaders to Bayit Yehudi requesting budget compromise, complete with signatures.

shas letter with signatures 370. (photo credit: Courtesy of Shas)

The Bayit Yehudi party declined overtures from haredi MKs Thursday, after receiving a letter offering to make a deal on yeshiva funding, but several lawmakers in the party threatened to vote against the budget if money for Torah study is not reinstated.

“With the votes on the 2013- 2014 budget and Economic Arrangements Bill growing nearer, we are appealing to you to bring back what was proposed to be cut in the yeshiva budget and that of Torah education institutions,” reads a letter signed by all 18 Shas and United Torah Judaism lawmakers and dated July 1.

The letter continues with an offer to not enter the coalition if the Bayit Yehudi is thrown out because it voted against yeshiva budget cuts.

Bayit Yehudi did not respond to Shas and UTJ, but a senior party source told The Jerusalem Post Thursday that the offer is not under consideration.

“The state budget and concern for the world of Torah are not just topics for [Shas leader] Arye Deri’s gimmicks,” the source said. “On the other hand, we find it encouraging that this time they didn’t call us ‘home of goyim [gentiles],’” he quipped, referring to a statement by Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef about Bayit Yehudi earlier this year.

Bayit Yehudi MK Orit Struck voiced a different opinion, saying “we are committed to the world of Torah and will not be able to vote for a budget that deals a fatal blow to the yeshivas.”

Motti Yogev, also of Bayit Yehudi, added that “Torah is the founding value of the Jewish People. We cannot vote for a budget that takes away over 52 percent of funding from Torah institutes.

“Ten percent in a year is legitimate,” he said. “More than that isn’t.”

Other Bayit Yehudi MKs siding with Struck and Yogev are Yoni Chetboun and Zevulun Kalfa.

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