The Israeli government on Sunday night submitted a response to the Supreme Court's query on the issue of canceling daycare subsidies for families in which the father studies in yeshiva, Kikar Hashabbat reported.
Under a new reform pushed by Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu), the criteria for qualifying for a daycare subsidy would change from focusing solely on how many hours the mother is employed or enrolled in higher education, to requiring also that the father be employed or studying for higher education. This would eliminate daycare subsidies for many haredi families.
In its response, the State said that Liberman's complete plan will not be implemented, and that stipulations will be added that with proper management will affect all long-term Torah learners.
"Legal considerations have led to the conclusion that there is room to include those studying for the Rabbinate or to be Jewish judges in the framework of the criteria for support," Kikar Hashabbat quoted the response as saying. It added that this would be "in accordance with the setting of certain criteria to ensure the existence of the employment purpose" and that "the final version of those criteria has not yet been approved, and the State will submit the final version at the time of the hearing."
Responding to the State's response, attorneys Shmuel Maklev, Uriel Stern, and Yonatan Feldman, who are representing the petitioners, said, "We are witness to the fact that the State admitted, essentially, that there were real flaws in the Finance Minister's original decision, and now it is working to correct what needs correction and include those studying for the Rabbinate or Jewish law as eligible for subsidies 'under certain conditions,' but has not yet published those conditions. More than that, we believe that there were additional flaws in the decision-making, which may lead to the decision being canceled. We will expand on those during the hearing."