C'tee to review bill reinstating yeshiva student stipends

"Learning in kollels is the essence of the Jewish people;" UTJ, Shas, National Union sponsor law to fund those who study Torah full-time.

MK Moshe Gafni 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
MK Moshe Gafni 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Ministerial Committee on Legislation is set to discuss a bill initiated by MK Moshe Gafni, that will reinstate stipends for those who study Torah full-time.
"The purpose of this law is to anchor the right of kollel students to recieve stipends and establish unified rules for granting them," the bill, which the committee will discuss on Sunday, reads. "The State encourages Torah studies, and therefore should allow a modest grant for yeshiva students."
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The new law is sponsored by UTJ, Shas and the National Union, and proposes giving scholarships to kollel students with at least three children and no other source of income.
Other conditions for receiving a stipend are that the student not own land or a car, and that his wife not work, either.
The new law circumvents the Supreme Court's mid-June ruling that put an end to income guarantees to yeshiva students.
At the time, the Supreme Court said that such guarantees are discriminatory, because they were not given to university students, as well. The court ruled that they can not be included in the 2011 budget.
The proposed bill points out that the state's budget allows for NIS 450 million in aid for university students, and only NIS 121 million for kollel students.
In the explanatory section of the bill, the MKs wrote: "The voice of Torah was not silenced even in the darkest periods in Jewish history, and much of the public sees Torah learning in kollels as promoting the essence of the Jewish people's existence and the guarantee of their eternal continuity."