Lapid accuses Deri of lying over schools funding

Finance minister says cuts to haredi schools were temporarily suspended, not abandoned as the Shas leader claimed.

Lapid shaking hands with Deri at Knesset 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Lapid shaking hands with Deri at Knesset 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Finance Minister Yair Lapid accused Shas leader Arye Deri on Tuesday of lying about why budget cuts for haredi schools were removed from the terms of the 2013-2014 state budget.
According to Lapid, the proposed budget cuts to haredi schools were temporarily suspended because the Attorney General informed the Treasury that it was illegal to defund the schools without having an alternative system in place.
Education Minister Shai Piron intends to establish a state-run haredi education system during the course of the next academic year.
The cuts to haredi schools were proposed for any school not teaching state core curriculum subjects to its pupils, which most haredi schools do not.
The Shas school system, Ma’ayan Hahinuch Hatorani is in theory supposed to teach the core curriculum but there is very little inspection of the network and it is believed that very little secular studies are in fact taught.
In a statement that Lapid posted on his Facebook page, the Yesh Atid leader said that his party had informed Deri as a courtesy.
Late Monday night, Deri’s office issued a statement saying that he, Lapid and Minister for Education Shai Piron had come to an agreement to abandon the proposed budget cuts.
So Lapid took to his Facebook page to deny the Shas leader’s claims.
“Deri [then] sold to the press the idea that we had capitulated to him and decided to cancel the cuts,” Lapid wrote.
“The truth is, I don’t understand him. Not only was this an obvious lie, but he’s also now prevented the possibility that we will ever try and work together with him on issues important to his community.”
The finance minister also promised that the proposed budget cuts would be implemented in six months time when a state-schools system for haredi children will be established.
Deri’s office refused to respond to the accusation.
A statement issued by Shai Piron’s office earlier Monday evening, said that in a conversation between the education minister and Deri it was agreed to postpone cutting the budget of the Ma’ayan Hahinuch Hatorani and the Independent Education system [of the hassidic community].
Piron’s office said a decision on the matter would be discussed after the state-run haredi education system is in place.
The statement said that Piron would introduce comprehensive legislation for the mandatory teaching of the core curriculum subjects within six months.