Student leader: Amar favors more haredim in workplace
Rabbi stays extra hour to speak with students, calls "on all MKs to meet with these young people and listen to the stellar ideas they have.”
By BEN HARTMAN
National Students Union leaders held a meeting with Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar in Jerusalem on Wednesday, to air their grievances about government plans to renew certain income supplements for married full-time yeshiva students.The meeting was at Amar’s initiative, and after the talks concluded, both sides spoke of an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding.RELATED:Haredim enraged by secular ‘days of incitement’ 10,000 protest in Jerusalem against yeshiva bill The meeting came amid an ongoing protest by students against the supplements, which they claim unduly favors the haredi public.During the meeting, Rabbi Amar said “when I first invited you, I was a little worried because I assumed that your hearts are still a bit pumped up from the mass rallies. After talking with [Student Union Head] Itzik Shmueli I discovered that the leadership is mature and responsible, and concerned about the greater good.”The rabbi, who stayed for an extra hour of talks with the students after the press and photographers left, added that he was pleased by the dialogue with the students, whom he told that he supported greater participation by the haredi public in the workforce, as well as greater equality in the distribution of government supplements.“I see, thank God, that there is a great deal of understanding between us. The togetherness is greater than the schism,” Amar said, adding that he “calls on all MKs from all the parties to meet with these young people and listen to the stellar ideas they have.”AdvertisementA spokesman for Amar, Rabbi Yitzhak Peretz echoed Amar’s statement, saying the meeting “had a great and beneficial atmosphere for everyone,” adding that he believes that more and more of the haredi population wants to work and also join the army.Shmueli said following the meeting that “we were pleased to find that the rabbi has an open door and an open ear to our problems. We didn’t discover any sort of disagreement between us and we reached an agreement on basically everything.”In particular, Shmueli said the rabbis and the students saw eye-to-eye on the need for more haredim to enter the workforce and equality in government stipends for all sectors.Shmueli added that the student protest, “is not against the haredim or the yeshiva students, it is merely in favor of equality and the greater incorporation of the religious public into the workforce.”The meeting came two days after some 10,000 university students from across Israel marched in Jerusalem under the slogan “We’re not suckers!” to show their opposition to government plans to renew the stipends, even though they had been disallowed by the Supreme Court, which ruled they were discriminatory.