Daycare
Daycare iStock

Coalition chair MK Idit Silman (Yamina), MK Nir Orbach (Yamina), and Knesset members from the two haredi parties (Shas and UTJ), headed by MK Moshe Gafni, have formulated a new outline for eligibility for daycare subsidies, to replace the outline formulated under the direction of Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman.

According to the latest outline, full-time Torah students under the age of 28 will still be eligible for daycare subsidies; only those over the age of 28 will have to work a certain number of hours per week in order to qualify.

Sources have told Israel National News that the new outline is supported by all the haredi parties and also by Religious-Zionist representatives, and that statistics regarding those affected by the outline have been transferred to the Finance Ministry, making it clear that the new outline will present a solution for the Religious-Zionist community as well as the haredi community. However, it is unclear whether the Treasury will consent to the new outline.

MK Silman and the haredi representatives have indicated that they are now awaiting the Treasury’s response; for their part, the Treasury has said that the issue is currently being held up by the Justice Ministry, following a petition to the Supreme Court. In addition, the Finance Ministry has stressed that Minister Liberman will only consent to a solution that grants a subsidy to Religious-Zionist Torah students, and will not agree to subsidizing haredi Torah students of any age.

However, Religious-Zionist representatives have already stated that they will not accept a solution that does not include haredi Torah students.

Moshe Gutman, the director of the Union of Yeshivot Gedolot, responded to the latest announcement, saying: “The State of Israel certainly should recognize the value of Torah study at least as much as it recognizes the value of any other course of learning, such that Torah students are eligible for the same subsidies as those studying academic subjects. The new outline supported by Minister Liberman deprives large numbers of children of their basic sustenance and harms the ability of their mothers to go out to work and support their families. We are now waiting to hear that the families of Torah students will have their subsidies restored.”

Prior to Liberman’s reform of daycare subsidies, the criterion for eligibility for the families of full-time Torah students was that the mother worked at least part-time. The new outline developed by the Finance Ministry stipulates that both spouses must work at least 24 hours per week in order to qualify for subsidized daycare. If it comes into law, around 21,000 children will be affected.