The issue behind the shutting down of a number of kollels, and arrests of a few people, for kollel fraud yesterday was more than just having people registered who were no longer learning in the kollel.
More Details Of The Kollel Fraud
Rafi G • LifeInIsrael.blogspot.com
It turns out that the issue behind the shutting down of a number of kollels, and arrests of a few people, for kollel fraud yesterday was more than just having people registered who were no longer learning in the kollel.
There are many young men, mostly among the hard-core Mea Shearim crowd, that refuse to take money from the State. Therefore, when they learn in kollel, they do not register for State funding - no stipends, no havtachat hachnasa.
Somebody realized this and saw a gold mine in the making. They took that information, they got lists of names of all these "sikrikim" and other people who don't take money, they printed fake identity cards under all those names, and submitted all those names into the roster for receiving government funding.
They figured they would never get caught, because these people anyway had the right to take this money, and since they don't nobody would ever find out that someone took it under their names. The money was just sitting there anyway.
Lo and behold, someone found out. They almost always do.
Two interesting points that have developed:
1. The leaders of one of the communities involved in the scam, the kehillas HaMasmidim, has come out against the "sikrikim" [Mea Shearim-based zealots who are more extreme than the wider Mea Shearim haredi community and 'normal' haredi zealots, and who resort to threats and violence against other haredim and police – Shmarya] in this affair, saying that the sikrikim are the ones who caused the chillul hashem by snitching to the authorities.
It seems the sikrikim found out what was happening and that their names were being used to defraud the State. They are always happy and willing to fight against those who oppose them (see how they have been destroying houses in Batei Varsha and Kollel Polin in the heart of Mea Shearim) and therefore took their information to the authorities.
I like how instead of being apologetic, instead of blaming themselves for doing something wrong and being seduced by money, they choose to not be apologetic and instead blame the whole thing on the sikrikim. They are basically sorry they were caught. Deflecting blame. Not only deflecting blame, but by not taking the blame and saying we made a mistake and should not have done it, they are saying there might be others doing the same thing, because there really is nothing wrong with it. the only problem with it is getting caught, and that was not our fault.
2. Rav Elyashiv has voiced his opinion on the matter, supposedly saying that if the story and details are correct, the avreichim who stole the money have a din of a rodef. He says this will cause a backlash against haredim in Israel and around the world, and nobody had a right to do such an act. [Note that, so far, supreme haredi rabbinical leader Rabbi Elyashiv has not condemned stealing. He has only condemned the fallout from getting caught stealing – Shmarya.]
3. While many justify it, this specific act or in general the concept of stealing from the State, by saying that they take taxes they dont deserve so stealing from the State is just taking your own money back, Chief Rabbi Amar has come out strongly saying it is completely assur to steal from the State and there is absolutely no hetter [absolutely no permission to do it].
[Hat Tip: Frum Follies.]