Sa'ar: Part-time yeshiva students to also receive stipends

Education minister signs new regulation allowing students who work and study part-time in yeshivas to receive scholarships from state.

Yeshiva 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Yeshiva 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Part-time kollel students will from now on be eligible for a government allowance, after Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar on Tuesday signed a new regulation to this effect.
Until now, only full-time kollel students met the criteria for the state funding.
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The ministry termed the move “part of the efforts to encourage haredi men to join the workforce,” and said it hopes the change will encourage men to get parttime jobs, while continuing to receive stipends for the time they spend learning Torah.
The total budget allocated to kollel students will not be increased with the new regulation, the ministry stressed.
MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) slammed the new regulation, and said that “the stipend for kollel students, paid to them for all their lives, is a total distortion and should be cancelled.
“Not only do [university] students receive no funding from the state, but most of them are forced to work for their livelihood during their studies, and also serve in military reserve duty,” he continued.
“There is no reason that tens of thousands of healthy haredi men will not serve in the IDF or work.
“This new arrangement by Sa’ar will not solve the problem at hand, just increase the wheeling and dealing that has recently begun to be exposed,” he added.
But the Masorti (Conservative) Movement was supportive of Sa’ar’s new directive.
“While kollel student stipends should be immediately cancelled, the new regulations have a logic that should be heeded,” the movement’s CEO, Yizhar Hess, said Tuesday night.
“The kollel students should be encouraged to assume responsibility over their lives, and leave a life of inactivity for one of work. Such incentives might help that happen, and diminish the need of many kollel students to lie to the tax authorities and God, while admitting that the life of Torah study does not suit everyone, and certainly not for one’s entire life.
“We support Sa’ar, and expect him to gradually eliminate the corrupting stipends,” Hess added.