Yitzhak Goldknopf (L) of Agudat Yisrael and Moshe Gafni (R) of Degel Hatorah
Yitzhak Goldknopf (L) of Agudat Yisrael and Moshe Gafni (R) of Degel HatorahYonatan Sindel/Flash90

Construction and Housing Minister Yitzhak Goldknopf (United Torah Judaism) sent a letter to Finance Committee Chairman MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism), demanding that he join the Agudat Yisrael faction's refusal to support the State budget until the yeshiva budget is corrected.

Goldknopf's faction, Agudat Yisrael, runs in a joint list with Gafni's Degel Hatorah faction, under the banner of the United Torah Judaism list.

Earlier this week, Agudat Yisrael threatened to vote against the State budget unless the yeshivas receive an additional NIS 627 million ($171 million) in funding, as promised to them in the coalition agreements. The demand includes funds retroactive to the beginning of 2023.

A meeting held earlier this week with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led to an agreement on the matter, but after the matter was publicized, sources in the Finance Ministry said that they would not support it. Following this, Agudat Yisrael declared that if the funds for the yeshivas are not approved, the faction will not vote for the State budget.

Meanwhile, Degel Hatorah has remained silent on the matter. Now, Agudat Yisrael is urging its partner party to join the fight for the yeshivas and vote against the budget if the correction is not approved.

In his letter, Goldknopf wrote, "In negotiations held with the Likud party, they spoke jointly about a number of central issues, such as the status of yeshiva students, the Draft Law - which has not yet been taken care of, the retroactive yeshiva and kollel (yeshiva for married men) budgets, haredi educational institutions, and rent payments."

"This is a clear and painful violation of the coalition agreement which was signed just a few months ago between UTJ and the Likud - an agreement which was supposed to provide the voting public with what we promised them on the eve of the elections."

"Our request and firm demand is that we all - the UTJ party - do not lend a hand to such a budget. Until the expected correction of all of the above sections, we will be forced to vote against the budget.

"We must clarify to the Prime Minister that he has no right to ignore the coalition agreement," the letter concluded.