Yishai, to bypass court ruling?
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Toporovsky, 'Same obligations for all'
Photo: Niv Calderon

Shas source: We'll ensure stipend for secular students as well

Religious movement seeks way around High Court ruling calling for cancelation of assured income for yeshiva students. Source tells Ynet, 'If necessary, we will amend law such that secular students may also receive assured income'

A senior source from the Shas movement on Monday told Ynet it would not allow a situation in which yeshiva students lose their assured income, and said that if necessary, "We will amend the law such that secular students may also receive assured income."


Despite the anger at the High Court ruling, Shas is not threatening a coalitional crisis just yet, and officials form the party said they would try to amend the law to ensure that the grant is still paid in the future.


"We will make it so that everyone is satisfied. The High Court ruled that there is discrimination, and we do not mind rectifying it so that (secular) students are also made eligible to receive assured income," said the source, adding, "it is doubtful that there are many, since the criteria for yeshiva students' assured income speak of married couples where neither partner works and that have three children. How many (secular) students like that do you know?"


The source added that the party does not necessarily plan on working to legislate a law to bypass the court ruling as party chairman Eli Yishai had threatened earlier Monday. "There are other ways to deal with this matter, we do not have to reach a crisis, furthermore, this is not a political decision, but a court ruling."


'Same privileges, obligations for all'

Meanwhile, there are those that are pleased with Monday's ruling, which states that the distinction between yeshiva students, who receive a stipend, and other students, who do not, is illegal.


Various student unions around the country, including several that took part in the petition which was filed 10 years ago, and only ruled on Monday, did not hide their satisfaction.


Head of the National Union of Israeli Students Boaz Toporovsky, welcomed the fact that "The High Court has finally stated that there can be no double standard." He stressed, "We demand affirmative action, not to be given more than anyone else, but that all students receive the same things. Not one shekel more, nor one shekel less."


Toporovsky added, "Today, the State gives money to yeshiva students who don't work, and don’t go to the army. The students work and study, mainly in order to contribute to the State, and report to reserve duty. When normative citizens are asked to serve in the military, report to reserve duty and work while studying, tuition should also be demanded of the yeshiva students.


"It's time that the State of Israel deals with the inequality and discrimination in the State. We have nothing against ultra-Orthodox or religious people who invest most of their time in studying religion. But we demand the same privileges and obligations of all of the State's citizens."


Yaheli Moran Zelikovich and Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 06.15.10, 00:53
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