Proposed tuition hike cancelled after criticism

Finance Minister Avraham Hirchson withdrew his proposed tuition hike on Monday evening following a chorus of protests that included senior cabinet ministers, MKs and student union heads, according to unconfirmed media reports. According to reports Monday, the Finance Ministry planned to raise university tuition by an astronomical 50% over four years in order to pay for the budget shortfall following the war in the North. In addition, ministry officials were reportedly contemplating severe cutbacks in welfare subsidies and grants for released soldiers, along with delaying the planned rise in the minimum wage scheduled for June 2007.