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Over the coming weeks the Education Ministry is to examine the way in which monies are transferred from the local authorities to the "recognized but non-state" schools, in accordance with egalitarian criteria.

The aim is to avoid having to pass sweeping laws that would compel local governments to contribute to the funding of these schools, as proposed by MK Meshulam Nahari (Shas).

The cabinet agreed yesterday that Nahari is to distribute his draft bill to all ministries in preparation for its submission for approval in three weeks to either the cabinet or the Ministerial Committee on Legislation. During this period, the Education Ministry will discuss the bill's financial implications with municipal officials.

"Many local authorities are already helping to fund 'recognized but non-state' schools," Education Minister Yuli Tamir explained yesterday. "In the cabinet meeting I recommended that we not legislate this issue [but rather] solve it on the local level, between the authorities and the Education Ministry," Tamir said.

"Nahari's bill creates a new reality that changes the status quo in favor of the ultra-Orthodox," Tamir continued. "There is no country in the world that does not give preference to the official education system."