Knesset Finance Committee members MKs Zevulun Kalfa (Bayit Yehudi) and Rabbi Moshe Gafne (Yahadut Hatorah) decided to hold up a decision to release 1.5 billion shekels for Israel Railways due to the railway’s discriminatory policy against bnei yeshivos in Sderot and Netivot.
Since the launching of the Sderot-Tel Aviv line the railway permits residents and students of Sapir College to ride for free. The same perk is not given to hesder talmidim in Sderot or Netivot or chareidi bnei yeshivos in those areas. As such, the MKs decided to halt railway funding until railway management addresses the discriminatory practice. The MKs insist that if college students are entitled to ride for free, the same must be for area yeshiva students.
Kalfa already turned to Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz in December 2014, seeking the same discount for talmidei yeshivos. The ministry explained it does not plan to change the current regulation, citing the yeshivos are not recognized by the Institute of Higher Education and therefore, they are not entitled to the discount.
During a Finance Committee meeting on Monday, 7 Nissan, the Ministry of Transportation sought approval for 11.6 billion shekels in funding for subsidies on the railway, improvements and operational costs to 2020.
The MKs are using their political might to delay the allocation in an effort to gain railway discounts for bnei yeshivos.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)