Over a thousand TAU students protest kollel stipend bill

Dozens of students also block nearby intersection, police forced to redirect traffic flow; Netanyahu blamed for succumbing to political extortion.

Tel Aviv student rally 311 (photo credit: Shaked Zychlinski)
Tel Aviv student rally 311
(photo credit: Shaked Zychlinski)
Over a thousand students from Tel Aviv University (TAU) closed their books, left the classrooms and took to the nearby streets Thursday afternoon in protest over the kollel stipends bill.
Dozens of students also blocked the nearby intersection of the Einstein and Haim Levanon streets, and police were forced to redirect the traffic flow in the area.
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TAU Student Union chairman Ran Livne blamed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for succumbing to political extortion, by preferring to fund kollel students to maintain his coalition rather than “invest in the future generation of doctors, engineers, and economists of Israel.”
Netanyahu has expressed the sentiment that funding kollel students is something the state has been doing for already over 30 years. Livne equated the struggle against the bill to a struggle for the national identity of Israel, which ought to encompass equality between different sectors in the population.
TAU's president, Prof. Joseph Klafter, backed the pause in the course of study for the demonstration, and in an official letter told the students that it they who “compose the human assets, that has always been the State of Israel's advantage, and who will bear the future economic and national burdens. The state must nurture this essential asset.”
The organizers said that Thursday's demonstration was a prelude to the large demonstration planned for this Wednesday in Tel Aviv, to be participated in by students from all over the nation.
Last week, nearly 10,000 students held a demonstration in Jerusalem against the amendment to the State Budget, that would provide an allowance for full-time Torah students with at least three children after a High Court Ruling from June deemed the situation in which only that segment of scholars receive state assistance non-egalitarian.