Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Chanuka Gelt for Yeshiva Bochrim!!


Knesset Finance Committee Chair Yaakov Litzman (Agudath Israel) obtained an expensive Hanukkah gift for yeshiva students yesterday - but the state will pick up the NIS 44 million tab.The gift consists of a one-time state grant of NIS 330 for every unmarried yeshiva student and NIS 600 for every married yeshiva student, to be distributed over the next few days. The money will be on top of the normal monthly stipend received by yeshiva students - NIS 720 for married men and NIS 400 for single men.
The NIS 44 million in grants is on top of the extra NIS 290 million for ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) educational institutions that Litzman's party was promised in exchange for joining the coalition at the start of the year.Litzman vigorously defended the Hanukkah grant yesterday. "I worked to increase support for yeshiva students in light of budget cuts of the last few years, including cuts in child allowances," he said. "I'm happy that the Finance Ministry met me halfway and understood the distress of the Haredi public. I hope that this sum will make things a little easier for families. The money will be distributed according to the Education Ministry's criteria."

Haredi MK Moshe Gafni (Degel Hatorah) also defended the grants. "These are surplus funds from the yeshiva budget that were unutilized," he said. "When there's a surplus in the yeshiva budget, they increase the per-student allocation to institutions."
But MK Ronnie Brizon (Shinui) was outraged. "With regard to Litzman, the Haredim and the cooperation they receive from the treasury, things have gone beyond shame and beyond swinishness. It seems that all the dams have been burst, and the Haredim only have to demand something in order for [the government] to bow to their whims and disburse public funds like hot potato pancakes on Hanukkah. This is merely a frightening omen of what is liable to happen in the 17th [i.e. next] Knesset: The public will be exposed to the unbridled money lust of those people, who contribute almost nothing to society, but receive almost everything from it."...

A columnist with Yedioth Ahronoth wrote:

Truth be told, it's not really accurate to call this windfall "Hanukkah gelt." Much more appropriate would be the phrase "strangulation
gelt." After all, it's only due to Litzman's strong hands, softly patting the finance minister's throat that the yeshiva guys are getting this money.
Of course, there is no reason to get too upset about this latest performance. After 50-odd years of bilking the public purse, it is hard to get upset about one more show of ham-fisted pressure. But there are several points that bear mentioning.
First of all, why, exactly, do single yeshiva bachurim (students) need NIS 330 shekels? At least the married guys who have wives and children (one for each year they've been married) to provide for. No question, a few extra shekels will help out.
But the single guys? Guys who spend their days bent over ancient parchments and debate the meaning of life? Most of their expenses are covered by the yeshiva. Latkes and jelly donuts he can get at home. Gambling games like dreidel are prohibited. They've got no kids to feed. So what do they need a holiday bonus for?...

Thousands of Israeli poor forego medicines for just one more slice of bread, while these yeshiva saints, whose only livelihood comes from public money, who pay no tax whatsoever to contribute to the national good, who create nothing except dime-a-dozen, unfounded theories and complaints, need more? ...
posted by Yeshiva Orthodoxy
at 1:02 PM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The hate in this article is staggering. Perhaps it would be better to forgo the govt. money than to awaken such hatred.

12:35 PM  
Anonymous SephardiLady said...

I agree. The hate is staggering.

I do agree, however, that it is bizarre to give a bonus to unmarried bochurim. Why not give a bonus to Charedi unmarried girls? Or, why not give a bonus to all students (Torah or secular)?

11:07 PM  

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