Jewish Home MK Fights for Foreign Hareidi Yeshiva Students
At a meeting between the Head of the Knesset's Finance Committee MK Nissan Slomiansky (Jewish Home) and Finance Minister MK Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid), the Finance Minister suggested a cancellation to the proposed budget cut for yeshiva students who come from abroad, but only for those who come to study in religious Zionist Israeli yeshivas (Torah study academies).
Slomiansky refused to accept the solution and pushed Lapid to cancel the proposed cut altogether - not only for religious Zionist yeshiva students, but for all yeshiva students, including those attending hareidi institutions.
MK Slomiansky claimed that Lapid should view all yeshiva students as if they were religious Zionist, in that they all had potential to emigrate to Israel in the future.
Yeshivas were informed on October 1 this year that funding for foreign students would not be continued.
Slomiansky stressed that the majority of yeshiva students of all types from abroad who studied in Israel stayed on to build their future lives in the country. He added that a majority of those who went back to their native countries returned to Israel later in life after raising a family.
"Out of all the bodies involved in bringing new Jewish immigrants to Israel, the yeshivas where foreign students study are the institutions that bring the most numbers at the cheapest price," Slomiansky said, adding, "This is why the proposed cut to the budget should be cancelled for all foreign students - and not just those connected to religious Zionist institutions."
Finance Minister Yair Lapid requested some additional time to look into the matter in more depth.
The controversial funding issue recently led to a showdown within the government with MKs Zevulun Kalfa (Bayit Yehudi) and Eliezer Stern (Hatnua), both members of the Finance Committee, threatening to vote down budget transfers if the budget for overseas students was not restored.