In another major blow to the chareidi tzibur in Israel, the Supreme Court on Sunday, 25 Iyar 5774, abolished supplementary income for avreichim. A seven justice panel headed by Court President Justice Asher Grunis rendered its decision to eliminate the supplementary income payments to avreichim made by the state. The court’s ruling was written by Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, a member of the dati leumi community.
The court’s ruling spoke of the inequality associated with the payments made to the avreichim and the fact that it does not contribute to getting chareidim out into the workplace. The petition challenging the payments was filed by a number of organizations including Ometz, Yisrael Chofshit, and the Conservative Movement.
In essence, the court has overridden the cabinet decision and therefore, payments may not be made from Teves
Rubinstein wrote that the government decision to continue with the supplementary payments is not in line with efforts to get chareidim to join the workplace but quite the contrary as they continue to avail themselves of the existing situation which permits them to receive payments. “The government’s decision is not fair and affects other sectors” the justices added.
The court also took issue with funding for avreichim. In the court’s view, they are permitted under the law to study for four years during which they are not compelled to acquire a skill or academic training towards earning a livelihood. The court points out that upon completion of the four year period the avreich lacks professional skills to enable him to enter the workforce, questioning the wisdom of the government’s decision.
The court did stipulate that one who is classified as a masmid may continue receiving funds since their entire life is devoted to limud.
Needless to say the initial reaction from chareidi lawmakers is one of anger and contempt for the High Court, pointing out “what the government and Knesset have not done to the chareidi tzibur the Supreme Court is now doing”.
MK Menachem Eliezer Moses:
The court was pulled into the atmosphere of assault against the chareidi tzibur. The State of Israel funds students several times more than the tzibur of avreichim but the court does not classify that funding being unequal for here we are dealing with chareidim. The court tends to forget the continuing discrimination that continues for decades in almost every area.
Does the court also view the law to sell apartments to eligible couples with paying value added tax only if they are IDF veterans as being unequal?
MK Meir Porush:
The Supreme Court continues discriminatory rulings against the chareidi tzibur and joins the band – the Israeli government that abuses the chareidim, its families, its children and way of life as much as possible and in every way possible. Those battling the chareidim have now been strengthened by the Supreme Court ruling – woe to that shame.
MK Aryeh Deri:
The ruling joins the choir of hate that cries incessantly attacking the pockets of chareidim without mercy during the past year. We will not permit turning Torah scholars into the national punching bag. The ruling today is a call to the givers in Israel and the Diaspora for whom limud the continued study of Torah is dear to their hearts. This is the time to mobilize them for the Torah world.
MK Moshe Gafne:
The cruel verdict of the Supreme Court against the Torah scholars is appropriate for the period we live in. The ruling of Elyakim Rubinstein who quotes from the sources is laughable as even a young talmid yeshiva can tear his words apart from beginning to end. The words of Justice Chayut that these are unique funds despite that the criteria can apply to all. This is suggestive that for the Supreme Court every penny given to the chareidi tzibur, like money given to all citizens for all aspects of their lives is considered unique and these funds must be approved by the Supreme Court. We will work in any way possible to change the decision even via legislation.
MK Eli Yishai:
The court’s decision will lead to increasing and deepening the cycle of poverty. The decision is wrong and will critically hurt families, particularly those with many children. The previous government following the High Court decision set criteria via the Gabbai Commission and tightened condition for limud Torah and entitlement to the supplementary income. In light of this one has to question the additional intervention of the court and its decision to stop funding. It is puzzling in my eyes regarding the intervention in the name of freedom of equality but the presence of the VAT exemption for apartments only for a particular group is received as a welcome and legitimate step.
MK Yaakov Litzman:
The court’s decision to prevent funding for avreichim is a declaration of way regarding the rights of lomdei Torah in Israel. With the decision the High Court has become the executor of the policy of harassment against the chareidi tzibur of the Netanyahu Lapid government.
MK Yaakov Asher:
The High Court’s arbitrary cancellation of income for avreichim proves that it court wishes to batter down the chareidi tzibur and Torah in an attempt to change our way of life using economic punishment in the spirit of the agenda of the Netanyahu Lapid coalition.
MK Uri Maklev:
The High Court’s decision is discriminatory and a denial of rights. There is no country that denies one rights for studying Torah. Do not take taxes from us and do not support us, or give us exemptions or budgets.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)