The wives of Torah scholars
The wives of Torah scholars Hezki Baruch/Israel National News

Members of the "Toratam Umnutan" organization of the wives of Torah scholars have appealed to the Attorney-General, asking her to prevent the government from finalizing the name change of the department dealing with daycare to "Senior Department for the Encouragement of Parental Employment."

The members are arguing that the decision to make the name change, the initiative of Employment Minister Orna Barbivai, has the ulterior motive of enabling the government to cancel subsidies paid to the wives of Torah scholars, even though the Finance Minister announced several months ago that the cancellation would be postponed, following legal challenges to the move.

They are also arguing that such changes are a waste of public money, and that a caretaker government such as the present one does not have the authority to make such decisions - a caretaker government is supposed to deal only with existing situations, and only implement changes if absolutely necessary.

"The Finance Ministry postponed the implementation of its reform to daycare centers to 2024," the members wrote to the Attorney-General. "Despite this, following the dissolution of the government and during an election campaign, the Finance Minister has returned to his statements and is insisting that he intends to cancel the budget for the families of Torah scholars, apparently in contradiction to the government's response to the Supreme Court.

"As part of this and in order to lend a stamp of approval to the cancellation of the subsidies that help the wives of Torah scholars to support their families by working, the wording on the application forms for support has been altered. Previously, the forms noted that the purpose of the subsidies is to encourage the employment of women; now, they state that the purpose is to 'encourage the employment of families,' as if the task of encouraging women's presence in the workplace is somehow completed."

They added that, "This corresponds to the recent change to the name of the relevant government department, from 'Senior Department for Daycare for Young Children' to 'Senior Department for the Encouragement of Parental Employment.' We are appealing to you to order to the Economy Minister to restore the department's original name," they continued.