Yisrael Eichler
Yisrael Eichler Hillel Meir/ TPS

MK Yisrael Eichler (UTJ) spoke in the Knesset, calling to expand the budget for haredi education, as per the coalition agreements signed between Likud and the United Torah Judaism party.

"We are now after over a year and a half of elections, which paralyzed the government and the budgets. Now we need to look forwards, and ask ourselves what our goals are going forwards. There is one goal I want to speak about today, and that is education," Eichler said.

"The State of Israel has developed in a way that each person has the right to act as he wishes, and belong to where he wants. On one thing we have remained stuck like we were in the days of the Mapai party. There, everyone needed to be the same. Public education received a full budget, the haredi received only budgetary crumbs, Religious Zionism was somewhere in the middle. And what hurts most is that there are thousands of children who do not belong to the large educational networks...and they receive a poor budget that becomes less and less each year.

"Former Education Minister [Aharon] Yadlin, who was from Mapai, told me that when they came to talk to him about the Talmud Torah schools which teach only holy subjects, he said, 'Why not, what's the question? That's how we were educated for hundreds of years and there were no children who turned out better than us.' So he ordered the Talmud Torahs to receive a budget."

"In recent years, they are always cutting the partial budget given to Talmud Torah," he emphasized, noting that between the budget cuts and the various additions given to public school students but not to haredi students, "a child in a Talmud Torah receives maybe 20% of what a secular child [receives]."

As a result, he said, a teacher in a Talmud Torah receives 50% of the salary of a teacher in public schools or the large networks.

"The tuition at a haredi school is very high," he said. "Parents need to pay very high sums and they struggle to pay them. Another problem caused by the lack of budget is a lack of classes. In Jerusalem alone, there is a need for another 1,500 classrooms, and most of those are for haredi schools."

"The coalition signed an agreement with UTJ regarding a coalition agreement which includes providing an appropriate budget for all educational needs for all sectors. This is the time to right the historic wrong and provide an equal budget for haredi education."