“This is an integrated war, these cuts are not only in the budget but are designed to chop off every branch of the Torah and the yeshivas. This government, a government of destruction, evil and annihilation, is not fitting to support the Torah world. It cannot be forgotten that supporting the yeshiva world is not only righteous act but one which is a meritorious act, as well. This merit as well they do not have …"
Haredi Leaders Lash Out Over Cuts In Yeshiva Stipends
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
It is a dark time for Israeli haredim.
Last year, full-time married haredi yeshiva students received a monthly NIS 900 stipend from the government and single haredi yeshiva students received NIS 500. These stipends are above and beyond the various welfare and housing benefits these haredi yeshiva students can receive.
Non-haredi students, however, do not receive stipends.
Beginning this year, the stipends were reduced to NIS 720 for married haredi yeshiva students and NIS 400 for single haredi yeshiva students.
But beginning this month, the stipends were slashed even further, to NIS 279 for married haredi yeshiva students while single haredi yeshiva students will get only NIS 139, according to the Association of Haredi Yeshivas, prompting a vicious response from haredi media controlled by haredi rabbinic leaders and by haredi politicians, even though the cuts were expected, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Ashkenazi haredi leaders blame the Zionist Orthodox right wing HaBayit HaYehudi Party and its leader, Religious Services Minister Naftali Bennett, for the cuts, which haredi leaders contend are deeper than they were told they would be.
A HaBayit HaYehudi source told The Jerusalem Post that the cuts could be partially ameliorated by “extra-budgetary funds” doled out by the Religious Services Ministry to haredi yeshivas.
Haredi yeshiva leaders are skeptical. Haredi politicians were scornful.
Haredi Member of Knesset Rabbi Yisrael Eichler from the Ashkenazi Haredi United Torah Judaism Party reportedly called HaBayit HaYehudi leaders “dirt rags” of Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who is the driving force behind the cuts, and called on HaBayit HaYehudi to bring down “the evil government” by leaving the coalition. Doing so, Eichler said, would prevent budget cuts to yeshivas and to the government’s child allotments, which pay parents a certain amount of money each month for each minor child in their family.
“HaBayit HaYehudi people went around [saying they had] a commitment from the Treasury to provide an extra NIS 130 million for yeshivas beyond what was in the budget. This gave them a pathetic excuse to support a cruel budget that harms their own children,” the often vituperative Eichler added, going on to attack HaBayit HaYehudi for being part of a government that released “100 [Palestinian] murderers with blood on their hands and [acquiesced] to advanced talks for the establishment of a Palestinian state on the ruins of their own homes. With the breaking of these commitments, HaBayit HaYehudi people have become the dirt rags of Lapid and Bibi,” Eichler told the Post.
“They’re using you like a ‘use and discard’ product,” Eichler continued. “Today they’re using you to burn the sanctuaries of Torah and tomorrow your ‘brothers’ will chuck you from your houses in the settlements, as they are accustomed to, but ‘sensitively.’”
Another UTJ Member of Knesset, Uri Maklev, also attacked HaBayit HaYehudi.
“This is an integrated war, these cuts are not only in the budget but are designed to chop off every branch of the Torah and the yeshivas. This government, a government of destruction, evil and annihilation, is not fitting to support the Torah world. It cannot be forgotten that supporting the yeshiva world is not only righteous act but one which is a meritorious act, as well.
“This merit as well they do not have and as this government wages war against the Torah world, it just intensifies and sharpens the depth of the divisions between us,” Maklev reportedly told the mouthpiece of mainstream non-hasidic Ashkenazi haredi rabbinic leaders, the daily newspaper Yated Ne’eman.
Yated Ne’eman itself reportedly attacked the government in Monday’s editorial.
The cuts would lead to “the starvation of Torah students [and the purpose of the cuts is the] coercive conscription [of haredi yeshiva students into Israel’s military] on the one hand and the breaking the taps on the other. Two hands [are] gripping tight in order to strangle [us]. One [hand] belongs to Lapid’s party, the other [hand] belongs to Bennett’s.…[Anyone who cuts yeshiva budgets or enables] evil people like this is participating in a crime for which it is worthy of being cursed,” its editors reportedly wrote.
Lapid wrote to Yesh Atid Party activists earlier this week, pointing out that “the Israeli middle class is not supposed to support people who can work but do not."