Ultra-Orthodox Groups Suspected of Forging IDs to Swindle State Funds

Associations in charge of ultra-Orthodox schools falsely reported having hundreds of students, funneling millions of shekels into their pockets.

Israel Police forces on Sunday confiscated more than 1,000 fake identification documents allegedly produced by ultra-Orthodox educational organizations.

Ids- Tomer Appelbaum
Tomer Appelbaum

Police investigators raided the offices of three associations in charge of ultra-Orthodox education in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Mea She'arim, Beitar Ilit and Ramat Beit Shemesh. Six people were arrested.

According to police investigation, the ultra-Orthodox groups forged the IDs in order to receive monthly stipends from the Education Ministry for their own benefit, on behalf of students who do not actually exist.

The groups falsely reported occupancy of hundreds of students in the religious schools under their management, when in fact only a few dozen students attend those institutions. Police are inquiring about the funds funneled to the institutions and foresee further arrests.

Rabbi Uri Regev, who heads the Organization for Religious Freedom and Equality (Hiddush) said similar affairs have been exposed by police in the past.

"The state's massive funding of ultra-Orthodox yeshivas leads to corruption, and this is another example of the damage it might cause," said Regev.