In recent months the Education Ministry has employed the services of private investigators following information received of suspected fictitious registration of children to ultra-Orthodox schools in Jerusalem. The inquiries revealed that in several of the establishments children who were listed as students did not attend classes.
It is suspected that school administrations allegedly provided the Education Ministry with false data in order to receive extra funds allotted according to the number of pupils.
The ministry provides the teaching establishments an annual sum of NIS 6,000 (roughly $1,597) per student which renders the fraud to the extent of hundreds of thousands of shekels. A source close to the investigation estimated that it could even amount to millions of shekels.
A preliminary inquiry indicated that some of the ultra-Orthodox schools in Jerusalem registered children who are affiliated with factions of the Eda Haredit. Those factions do not acknowledge the State of Israel and the children do not attend its establishments. It is also suspected that in some of the cases the children's parents had no knowledge of their kids being enrolled as students in state-funded schools.
Members of the Eda Haredit are aware of the phenomenon, but refuse to cooperate with investigators out of ideological motives.
An emergency meeting was held in the faction two weeks ago following municipal payment requests that were sent to parents, despite their children not attending the establishments stated on the requests.
A source at the Eda Haredit said that the phenomenon involved some 20,000 children. "We are not interested in dealing with the State of Israel's losses," he said. ""It's not our problem. We solve our problems in our courts."
The Education Ministry stated that the false registrations are being looked into.
Nissan Shtrauchler contributed to this report