The government and the Jewish Agency have promised to help cover the loss in grant money usually provided by the Masa program to foreign yeshiva and seminary students in Israel, after the organization announced last month that it was cutting such financial contributions.
The cuts were made due to new financial constraints imposed on Masa itself by the government and Jewish Agency, although complaints were made that grants were totally cut only for yeshiva and seminary students.
According to World Mizrachi, following the initial announcement, chairman of the World Zionist Organization Avraham Duvdevani met with Jewish Agency chairman Issac Herzog to urge that a solution be found for the shortfall in the funding for such students. After the meeting, a committee including representatives of World Mizrachi and the affected institutions met with senior leaders in the Jewish Agency and Masa to discuss the issue.
World Mizrachi said that the government and Jewish Agency together would cover 75% of the value of the grants if World Mizrachi could find the remaining 25%.
Sources in the Jewish Agency said, however, that the agreement was for the Jewish Agency and World Mizrachi to find funds themselves and that the government would match the combined total of what they contributed.
Yeshivas and seminaries are still expecting to welcome their full complement of foreign students for the new semester beginning on August 21, the first day of the Hebrew month of Elul.
First-year students are obtaining visas through the auspices of Masa, while a similar arrangement is currently being worked out for second-year students.
It is unclear as yet where the students will need to spend their 14-day quarantine.
Some institutions are capable of providing the requisite conditions for quarantine, but others are less equipped and the government has yet to issue a decision for this problem.