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Zionist Yeshivas Fear 'Collapse of Torah World'

Hesder and other Zionist yeshivas say budget cuts do not differentiate between them and non-Zionist yeshivas.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 5/13/2013, 11:58 AM

Hesder yeshiva students (illustration)
Hesder yeshiva students (illustration)
Flash 90

The Hesder yeshivas and Zionist high yeshivas are deeply concerned over the proposed budget for 2013-14, which the government is set to approve Monday.

The yeshivas' leaders note that their budgets have already been negatively affected by the fact that approval of the new budget has been delayed since the beginning of the year. They also say that the proposed cuts do not differentiate between religious-Zionist and hareidi non-Zionist yeshivas.

The support the yeshivas have been receiving from the state since January is 20% lower than what they would have received if the budget had been formally approved. In May, another 20% were taken off the original support, and it currently stands at 60% the regular rate.

There are already many yeshivas that are unable to pay their suppliers and to pay salaries on time. These yeshivas face imminent financial collapse.

The Finance Ministry wants to slash the budget allotted to yeshivas by over 40% in 2013-14. About 200 million shekels are to be cut in 2013 and another 400 million in 2014.

In addition, support for yeshivas that take in students from abroad, such as Machon Meir, will be cut. The total planned cut for this year is about 650 million shekels, while the total annual budget for the Yeshiva Department is about 1 billion shekels.

The yeshiva leaders said Monday that yeshivas are being hit much harder than other institutes for higher learning. "This is a disproportionate and unacceptable slash that will lead to the collapse of the Torah world," they said.

The planned reforms will also include the raising of "arnona" municipal land taxes for synagogues. This will affect yeshivas that have a synagogue on their grounds. Yeshiva students, including those who serve in the military, will also lose discounts at day care centers for their children.