The Union of Zionist Yeshivot and the Hesder Yeshivot Association sent a letter to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett excoriating him for the decision of Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman to eliminate daycare subsidies for avreichim, Arutz Sheva reported.
Although the elimination of daycare subsidies will mainly affect the Chareidi sector, in which almost all men enter Kollel for a period of time after they get married, many members of the Dati Leumi community also learn in kollel after marriage.
Furthermore, as the letter notes, learning in kollel, both in the Chareidi and Dati Leumi sectors, frequently leads to paid employment as Rabbanim, teachers, tutors scholars, writers, and translators. However, according to Lieberman’s newly doctored criteria for subsidies, only students studying for an academic degree can receive daycare subsidies, an act of blatant discrimination.
“This draconian decision of Minister Liberman causes immense damage to the status quo, and is a display of defiance that expresses actual contempt toward the value of Torah study,” the letter states.
“It also causes great harm to entire communities who view Torah study as a central value to their lives. This step will deal an existential economic blow to the families of Torah students from the weakest strata of society.”
“We have heard the speeches you made,” the letter continues, “along with speeches made by other senior figures in the government. We have heard the promises made to protect the unity of the people, and your personal promise to support the Torah world. Now we are appealing to you with a request that you cancel this evil directive and work to balance the various elements in government who have acted irresponsibly. We call upon you as Prime Minister of the State of Israel, asking you to implement responsible policies that respect all the various sectors of society, policies that respect and show commitment to our millennia-old tradition of valuing Torah study, policies that bring about unity between Israeli society and the Torah world.”
“What this directive means is that those studying full-time in order to be certified as rabbis will be deprived of these subsidies – but someone learning in order to receive an academic degree of any kind remains eligible. This will cause hundreds of families from the Tzioni yeshivot to sink under the poverty line. The decision shows absolute contempt for the value of Torah study and is an attempt to undermine it entirely – and we cannot consent to this. We call on the Prime Minister to impose coalition discipline and prevent this destructive decree from being implemented.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)