Undoubtedly, MK (Yahadut HaTorah) R’ Moshe Gafne, who chairs the Knesset Finance Committee, is hailing a major victory, the elimination of a planned budget cuts for yeshivas as part of the government’s across-the-board spending cuts – a move required to increase defense spending and pay for swine flu vaccinations.
Treasury official Udi Nissan on Tuesday morning informed Gafne that yeshiva budgets would not be included in cuts and the funding would stand on the sum agreed upon in coalition agreements signed with Yahadut HaTorah and Shas.
Analysts report that Gafne was tenacious in his opposition, determined to prevent the NIS 300 million cut because it is a sizable sum, but also to establish his position since this was his first major battle as committee chair. Yeshivas will have to cope with a NIS 1.3 million cut, an unavoidable portion of the system wide cuts impacting all aspects of the budget, but this is a far cry from the NIS 300 million.
The original plan calls for cutting NIS 2 billion from the budget to allocate an additional NIS 1.5 billion for defense spending and NIS 500 million to cover the cost of the nationwide swine flu vaccination program.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)