Photo: Gil Yohanan
MK Moshe Gafni
Photo: Gil Yohanan
MK Avraham Ravitz
Photo: Gil Yohanan

‘Shas annihilating Torah world’

Annual budget proposal suggests cutting funds to yeshivas by $111 million, United Torah Judaism says ‘government decided on budgetary assassination of yeshivas’

Yeshiva funding continues to drop, as some $38 million are expected to be allocated to yeshivas next year, according to the 2008 budget proposal received at the Knesset Monday.


Members of the United Torah Judaism (UTJ) party were furious with the proposal, which suggested cutting funds to yeshivas by $111 million; $162 million were allocated to yeshivas in 2007. In 2002, yeshivas received $256 million.


“The Israeli government has decided on a budgetary assassination of the yeshivas,” MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ) said Tuesday. The MK didn’t mince words about his feelings towards the coalition’s haredi party.


“Shas, which pretends to be an orthodox party, is an accomplice in the annihilation of the Torah world. With a steady hand, its members voted for this destructive coalition time and time again,” Gafni said.


According to Gafni, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s government has been the most destructive to the haredi public. “Even when Shinui was in the government, much higher sums were allocated to the Torah world than in the current budget,” he said.


Fellow UTJ member Avraham Ravitz called the budget proposal "cruel," adding that funds allocated to the yeshivas should be protected by law. He said the current situation whereby the yeshivas receive funding on a year-by-year basis forces the haredi MKs to launch lobbying campaigns in a bid to secure the funds.


MK Shmuel Halpert, also a UTJ member, said the government was "annihilating the yeshivas' budget" and therefore had "no right to exist".


Gafni continued to say that "the Jewish public in Israel and the world will not forgive the coalition, which is causing great harm to those who study Torah – harm that is redolent of dark eras in Jewish history.


"The Jewish public will especially not forgive Shas," he said.


Shas officials said in response that Gafni should be reminded that the party's ministers voted against the budget.


פרסום ראשון: 10.09.07, 21:45
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