Students protest yeshiva bill
Photo: Ofer Amram
Interior Minister Eli Yishai
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Steinitz: No signed agreement
Photo: Avishag Shaar Yeshuv

Students' bill: Stipends only for those who work

Student Union drafts alternative to bill granting yeshiva students millions in state funds as interior minister tells haredi website of illicit dealings with finance minister on bill, which violate basic law

The National Student Union announced late Sunday night that it would file a proposal contrasting the yeshiva students' stipend bill, which students have fervently protested against.


The proposal, which the union says will be handed to MKs Tuesday, stipulates that only yeshiva students who work will be eligible for state-funded stipends.


Earlier Sunday Interior Minister Eli Yishai revealed that the issue of funding yeshiva students had been settled between himself and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz even before the state began to discuss the controversial bill.


The union's proposal was drafted by excelling students, economists, and professors over the past few days as an alternative to the bill granting yeshiva students millions in state funds.


According to the proposed bill, those who own an apartment or vehicle will not be eligible for a grant, except those owning a motor-scooter. The sum will be fixed in the annual budget law.


"The future of the State depends on the participation of all sectors of society in the job market," the National Student Union said. "The more the State contributes to higher education and integration into the employment market for the younger generation, the more it will reduce the social gaps in the future, leading to an egalitarian, productive and creative society."


"After receiving a number of compromise proposals, which in our opinion were not reasonable, the student leadership decided to take active steps and to present the public with an egalitarian alternative which will enable needy (regular) students and yeshiva students to receive assistance according to fair criteria," Student Union Chairman Itzik Shmueli added.


Kadima: Make illicit dealings public

Earlier the ultra-Orthodox website B'Hadrei Hadarim quoted Yishai as saying, "Our commitment to income assurance is a coalition agreement… a budget agreement. It is not a coalition agreement signed upon entering the government, but rather an agreement between Shas and the Finance Ministry."


Kadima Knesset members on Sunday evening called on Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to order that details of the alleged deal be made public.


If Yishai's statement turns out to be true, the deal struck between Shas and the ministry is in violation of Israel's Basic Law: The Government, which states that any agreement struck in the government before a vote on the budget must be reported to the Government Secretariat and the Knesset, which this deal was not.


Steinitz's office denied the allegations, claiming, "There is no signed agreement between the Finance Minister and anyone from Shas on the yeshiva students. It may be that the interior minister was misunderstood and in any case this appears to be a pathetic attempt by Knesset members to gain headlines and incite the public against the government."


Yishai's office relayed a similar message. "There was no official agreement, only an understanding," it stated.



פרסום ראשון: 11.07.10, 22:05
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