Yeshivas in Israel are experiencing a deep budgetary crisis following cuts in state funding and Bayit Yehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett, whom many blame for the yeshiva's predicament, is making an effort to make things right, a week before the start of the High Holidays.
Arutz Sheva has learned that Bennett sent an SMS message to Bayit Yehudi's other MKs Tuesday morning in which he said: “My dear friends in the faction: an update on the yeshivas – I am taking care of the matter personally, and it is my sole reponsibility to make good on the commitment. There has been meaningful progress and once the matter is finalized I will update you.”
On Thursday, the faction will hold a session in which the yeshiva budget crisis will be raised. Arutz Sheva has learned that in recent days, Bennett has been conducting a tense political battle in order to obtain the needed funding. Zionist yeshivas have calcualted the cut to their budgets at a whopping 66%.
Bennett is being blamed for political naivete that enabled Finance Minister Yair Lapid to cut the yeshiva budgets deeply even though the two – Lapid and Bennett – entered the Coalition after forming a close pact in which each one promised not to let the other be left out of the government.
A source in the yeshiva world told Arutz Sheva Monday that Yesh Atid's attack on the yeshivas does not differentiate between Zionist and hareidi yeshivas. He said that Yesh Atid's people have succeeded in damaging the hesder yeshivas by lengthening the period of army service in the hesder track; have placed restrictions on the "high yeshivas" (where students can defer military service for a period of time in favor of continued Torah study) and the students who are exempt from army service; have made enforcement stricter, thus turning every student into a suspect; have established a team for placing biometric identification machines at yeshivas, to make sure that students do not fake their studies. The source also accused Yesh Atid of setting unrealistic goals for the yeshivas in the knowledge that they cannot attain them.
The Bayit Yehudi party fell into Lapid's trap, the source continued.
“Joining him on this matter was a big mistake. Naftali Bennett thought that he was in [the elite army unit] Sayeret Matkal and did not realize that he had entered into the depth of the political world, where a man's word is worthless, promises mean nothing, and a brother is not really a brother.”