Rabbi Avraham Ravitz, Knesset member from the haredi Degel Hatorah faction (controlled by Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv) of the United Torah Judaism party is interviewed in this week's Jewish Press. The key quotes:
All reports indicate a strong economy in Israel. But we also hear of great poverty.
The government has some new plans, including trying to encourage people to accept jobs that until now they didn’t want to take. And this will be sweetened with a negative income tax. If a person goes to work and makes a very low salary, below a certain level, not only won’t they have to pay income tax, but the government will give them money.
This is expected to take effect in a year. Excluded in this plan would be kollel young men. My plan is to have kollel men recognized as if they are working.
What are you trying to accomplish on this trip to the U.S.?
I was one of the founders of the city of Betar, a suburb of Jerusalem. The city has a large number of people devoted to Torah study. Many of these kollel families are now in financial crisis.
I would like to set up an international fund whereby people all over the world would contribute money to be used by these kollel families. There are 21 kollels in Betar supporting 500 families, so you can see that the need is great.
Anyone who is interested in my idea can contact me at the Knesset. I will respond to all inquiries.
Understand this well. This haredi MK wants to have kollel students receive their regular government stipend, all the welfare benefits they already receive, and also get money from the state as if they were actually working, sweeping the streets or as a laborer.
Worse, this man is in the US for one purpose – to schnorr money to feed, house and clothe haredim who refuse to work and who refuse to let their wives get the education necessary to earn a decent living.
This insanity must be stopped. It is time to end the yeshiva-kollel draft deferments and to stop the state subsidies for this parasitic behavior.