The Finance Ministry has given the Yeshivot Section of the Ministry of Education a written commitment to transfer 65 million shekels for hareidi and Zionist yeshivas. The extra budget was approved following a protracted struggle by Bayit Yehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett, who has been under fire for allowing yeshiva budgets to be slashed in the first place.
Education Minister Shai Piron (Yesh Atid) is also assisting in the transfer of the funds.
About 80% of this extra budget will go to non-Zionist high yeshivas, and the rest is earmarked for hesder yeshivas and other Zionist yeshivas.
Hesder yeshivas also received another NIS 15M from the Defense Ministry budget two weeks ago, following efforts by Deputy Education Minister Avi Wortzman (Bayit Yehudi).
"We will continue to fight until the complete implementation of the two principles we presented – no damage to Zionist yeshivas, and minimization of damage to hareidi yeshivas,” sources in Bayit Yehudi said. “We believe that the Torah does not belong to a certain sector but to the entire Jewish people. The study of Torah at the Zionist yeshivas turns them into 'factories' for production of motivation for newly recruited soldiers.
"After the non-stop attacks on us from the hareidi world, showing gratitude for our activity is also an option, but we will continue to fight for the Torah world without it as well,” the sources said, adopting a bittersweet tone.
Minister Bennett said after the extra budget was approved: “I thank everyone who had patience, despite the difficulties. We refused to reach Rosh Hashana without minimizing the damage to yehivas. Let no one make a mistake: we proved that when we stand our ground, we reach the goals we set for ourselves. The fact that Bayit Yehudi has turned into the party for all of the Nation of Israel does not mean that the values cherish forever can be damaged.”
A dean at one of the high yeshivas told Arutz Sheva that the funds transferred constitute half of the money that Zionist yeshivas are supposed to receive, in accordance with Bayit Yehudi's size and its part in the Coalition. Another 65M are being held up by the Yesh Atid party, which controlls the Finance Ministry.
"This is a very partial victory for Bayit Yehudi and the difficult part is still ahead of us,” the dean said. “Let us hope that this part of the sum, at least, indeed reaches the yeshivas before Rosh Hashana.”