Shas demands guidelines for yeshiva inspections

Haredi MKs angered by inspectors’ rude interruption of Talmud lesson at Bnei Brak yeshiva.

Yeshiva 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Yeshiva 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A furious Shas is demanding the Finance Ministry draw-up guidelines for their inspections in yeshivot, after a reportedly unsavory visit of two inspectors at a Bnei Brak institution.
According to the rabbis and students of the Beit Shmaya yeshiva, two inspectors showed up at the school on Wednesday around noon, in the middle of the “general lesson” to the entire student body, taught by the venerable Rabbi Shlomo Englander.
According to what Shas chairman Avraham Michaeli relayed on Thursday, the men wouldn’t agree to wait until the end of the session, and one of them entered the study hall and stood next to Englander, who observed the intrusion, but chose to ignore it and continue teaching.
The visitor then apparently chose to leave on his own volition, without conducting the inspection.
Following the incident, Englander sent an angry letter to the Education Ministry, with copies to Shas and United Torah Judaism Knesset members.
Though headed by an Ashkenazi rabbi, Beit Shma’ya is a yeshiva composed largely of Sephardi students.
The financial support yeshivot receives from the state is determined based on the number of students registered at the institution. The money is paid by the Education Ministry, but the ongoing supervision over the correlation between the number of students in the books and in the institutions is carried out by an accountant firm, sub-contracted by the Finance Ministry’s accountantgeneral.
The past year has seen a tightening of the supervision over the yeshivot, after a few largescale swindles were exposed.
“Shas will not rest until an investigation of the incident, and the formation of procedures to determine general attendance at yeshivot,” a message from the movement read.
Early Thursday afternoon, Shas had initially pointed a finger at the Education Ministry for the conduct, but throughout the day Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar assured Michaeli that his office was not behind that inspection, which was described by Englander as extremely demeaning.
Michaeli added that Sa’ar spoke with Accountant-General Michal Abadi-Boyano, and demanded that she draw-up clear procedures to avoid such occurrences in the future.
Deputy Education Minister Menahem Eliezer Mozes also condemned the incident, and said he will demand clarifications from the Finance Ministry.
The Finance Ministry acknowledged that the inspectors were working under the auspices of the accountant-general, and explained in response to the criticism that “inspection of the numbers of students in yeshivot is by essence [a] surprise inspection, hence the importance of it taking place immediately upon the inspectors arriving at the inspected institution.
“At the same time, the inspection does not mean to disrupt the normal course of study, and if there was a disturbance, the matter shall be examined,” a message from the ministry read.
Late on Thursday, a spokesman for head of the Knesset’s Finance Committee UTJ MK Moshe Gafni said that the accountant-general told Gafni they would apologize to Englander.