Moshe Gutman, Chairman of the Organization of Higher Yeshivas, on Sunday congratulated the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party for its efforts in securing funding for its member institutions last week, as a long-awaited funding round of NIS 65 million for yeshivas in Israel was finally distributed last Tuesday.
Officials in the Education Ministry, the Economics Ministry, and the Finance Ministry were wrangling over the money for months. Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) sharply cut funding for all yeshivas – especially those associated with the hareidi community – while Economics Minister Naftali Bennett mounted a major campaign to restore at least part of the funding.
In August, the Finance Ministry finally agreed to allocate the money, which was supposed to be distributed before Rosh Hashana. But the Treasury raised further objections, with the money held up by Lapid, who has been trying to cut the state budget down to the bare bones.
“The organization congratulates the Bayit Yehudi leadership and Deputy Education Minister Avi Wurtzman for their success in ensuring the funding,” Gutman said. “The money we received will help make up for the recent major budget cuts we experienced.
“I am positive that the Bayit Yehudi MKs will continue to work on behalf of yeshivas until all the budget threats that are hanging above our heads will disappear, and our institutions will be strengthened, and achieve their proper status in Israeli society,” he said.
The budget is tied to IDF recruitment; the more soldiers a Hesder yeshiva produces, the higher its budget allocation. For women's midrashiyot, the criteria will be the number of women who join the National Service.
Commenting on the party's success, Bayit Yehudi chairman and Economics Minister Naftali Bennett said that “this is not the end of the story. We will continue to ensure that Torah study can thrive.”