Minister Aryeh Deri
Minister Aryeh DeriFlash 90

A yeshiva education will now be recognized as an academic degree by municipalities.

A special management circular disseminated by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri in coordination with the Civil Service Commission stipulates that a Torah education will be recognized as an academic degree for purposes of job appointments in municipalities.

Every person who has Rabbinical ordination from the Chief Rabbinate or documentation showing he studied in a yeshiva for at least 6 years after the age of 18, or who passed three Rabbinate tests, will be recognized as having an academic degree and will be able to get municipality jobs and offices requiring a degree.

The circular emphasizes that the municipalities must advertise these possibilities when announcing position openings requiring a degree.

The decision means that hundreds or thousands of yeshiva students will be able to attain key jobs in municipalities throughout the country.

Minister Deri said today: "I am happy to have achieved this revolution of recognition of Torah education as an academic degree. There is no reason that someone who earns a humanities degree should be able run for a municipality job and get it, while a yeshiva student who has studied and gained expertise in Judaism can't.

"We will act to extend this development to government offices and departments. I'm sure this will create and opening for many in the haredi community who have a Torah education to attain key positions in local government and civil service in general,"

Dr. Gilad Malach, head of the haredi research program at the Israel Democracy Institute, wasn't as enthused.

"Rabbinic ordination or six years of yeshiva study do not require an ability to write academic papers or knowledge of English or statistics," Malach said.

"If there are specific positions in municipalities that do not require these skills, then an academic degree should not be required for getting the job. But equating Torah education with academic degrees cheapens the skills required for civil service, can damage the quality of services for citizens, and may even open up the possibility of political appointments given for non-professional reasons.

"In the past 15 years some 20,000 haredim have earned an academic degree. These people are a great potential pool of candidates for these positions. We must make an effort to get these graduates into civil service, especially local, as has been done recently with the government's decision to integrate haredim into public service."