Minister of Economics Naftali Bennett, head of the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party, and Finance Minister Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party, fought long and hard over the matter of yeshiva funding, Minister Uri Orbach said Tuesday.
In a post to his Facebook page, Orbach accused the hareidi-religious public of failing to appreciate that it was Bennett who fought to keep their yeshivas going.
“65 million shekels will be transferred to the yeshivas, particularly the hareidi ones. A similar sum will be transferred later, with preference given to yeshivas whose students serve in the army,” he wrote.
The budget transfer follows a “bitter” fight between Bennett and Lapid over the matter, Orbach said. Lapid has fought to keep costs down in order to slow the growth of the national deficit, and the cut to yeshiva budgets is just one of a series of cuts that has included increasing the VAT and slashing child payments.
Lapid and Bennett famously teamed up during coalition negotiations in order to ensure that both of their parties would be included in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government.
Orbach expressed frustration over public criticism over the yeshiva budget cuts in particular. “OK, it’s not a thing to say ‘thank you,’ after all, this is [Bennett’s] job and our job. But it’s a little embarrassing to see the aggression of some of those demanding money, both hareidi and religious-Zionist,” he wrote.
“As if the whole world is just waiting to be able to help the yeshivas. Just push a button and everything will be fine,” he continued.
“Thank you, Naftali. Good job,” Orbach concluded.