Some 6,000 students attended a mass rally in Jerusalem's Zion Square on Sunday against a bill meant to side-step a High Court of Justice ruling and allow stipends for yeshiva students.
The students, who marched from the prime minister's residence to Zion Square, cried out "Bibi, wake up", "Students are worth more" and "We're hungry for bread too." The protestors waved signs reading, "Equal rights for our children," "We're not suckers" and "Haredim – go to work."
President of the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya Prof. Uriel Reichman told the rally, "You students are the Israeli society's beating heart. Politicians turned their back on many of you who secure our future and continuity." Prof. Reichman further added, "We shall not tolerate this contemptible behavior which serves individuals on the backs of those who carry the burden and love the state any longer."
Rallying in Jerusalem's Zion Square (Photo: Noam Moskowitz)
Maayan Arbelli, a student at the Ben-Gurion University said, "We're here because we're tired of being those who contribute to this state, pay taxes and end up being discriminated against. With all due respect – there's a line, and the government has crossed that line a long time ago."
Itzik Shmuli, chairman of the National Union of Israeli Students said ahead of the rally that "thousands of students from across the country are coming here today to alert the government and remind it that there is a young generation of students which will not be ignored. We're not against the haredim, but we support equal rights for all."
Student scholarship tax
Meanwhile, Ynet learned that contrary to previous statements regarding student benefits, the government is planning to impose a tax on all student scholarships not given by universities. Kadima officials estimate the tax will account for 25% of the sum of the grants.
The Prime Minister's Office issued a statement in response: "The government legislated a law exempting student scholarships from tax."
Referring to Kadima's claim on the proposed tax the PM's office said: "Kadima is harping on about a minor matter. It's a Tax Authority decision and the prime minister has instructed it be examined."
Also Sunday, some 200 students of the Haredi College of Jerusalem and the Ono Academic College's haredi branch held a counter-demonstration in support of the yeshiva funding bill outside their joint campus. The haredim protested against what they described as "student incitement" against the ultra-Orthodox public.
Ronen Medzini, Roni Sofer and Kobi Nahshoni contributed to this report
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