Education Minister Shai Piron
Education Minister Shai Piron Flash 90

Senior sources in the Education Ministry have told Arutz Sheva that Minister Shai Piron (Yesh Atid party) has given authorization for new criteria for yeshivot (religious academies) to apply for government funding.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) sharply cut funding for all yeshivas in his 2013 budget, but a major campaign, spearheaded by  Economics Minister Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) was initiated to exert pressure restore at least part of the funding .

The government finally announced Monday that NIS 65 million would be transferred immediately to yeshivot.

Tuesday's news was aimed at reassuring yeshivot that a more proportionate and fair future awaits them vis-a-vis funding allocation.

The Education Ministry source said, in parallel, that it might be possible to compensate yeshivot for the last months in which they sustained a heavy budget cut of several tens of percents. According to the source, the news pointed to "a strengthening in the relationship between the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) and Yesh Atid parties."

In a Facebook post last month, Minister Uri Orbach (Bayit Yehudi) said that Lapid and Bennett had fought “bitterly” over the allocation. 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, but since then have drifted apart over significant policy differences

The Education Ministry source said Piron had also been "working quietly behind the scenes on behalf of the religious Zionist yeshivot, despite the slander and claims made against him."

The source emphasized, as an indication of the will to help the yeshivot, that a new audit authority for yeshivot would also be put in place which would be administered in a far more proportionate way. "It will be proportionate and fair and will set right the injustices done in the past to religious Zionist yeshivot," the source said.

Deputy Education Minister, Avi Wortzman (Bayit Yehudi), said, in response to the authorization of the new criteria, "we have invested great efforts to ensure the religious Zionist post-high school yeshivot and hesder (Torah studies combined with army service) yeshivot are not harmed. At the same time, we have also taken into consideration, hareidi religious yeshivot . We hope this will give the yeshivot an opportunity to recover from what has been a very difficult few months."