Student Union Appeals to High Court Against Yeshiva Student Stipends

Director general of Reform Movement which took part in petition says 'the government decision to continue paying stipends to Yeshiva students is conscientious bankruptcy.'

The National Student Union and the Centre of Jewish Pluralism appealed on Sunday to the High Court against the cabinet decision to continue the payment of stipends to married yeshiva students.

The organizations appealed to the High Court to issue a decree nisi and a temporary injunction in order to stop the payment of stipends from going through.

Student protest
Emil Salman

Under the proposal approved by the cabinet last month, the government will provide a total of NIS 127 million a year in stipends to married yeshiva students, amounting to NIS 1,040 a month per student for four years. In the fifth year, the amount will be reduced to prepare the student for entry into the labor market.

The proposal to cut stipends to yeshiva students followed a ruling by the High Court of Justice that the practice violates the principle of equality, since it does not apply to university students.

The appeal stated that "stipends for education and the encouragement of the integration of Yeshiva students, including their integration in the employment market" (from 19.12.2010) do not meet the requirements of Israeli law and that, "the government's decision is an empty and illegitimate attempt to get around the High Court ruling (High Court 4124/00), by trampling over the principle of equality and by assuming that in the absence of a legal injunction, the actual appeal process will enable those who wish to determine the facts on the ground to continue the illegal payment for a considerable period of time until the decision over the petition is made."

Rabbi Gilad Kariv, director general of the Reform Movement which took part in the petition, said in response that "the government decision to continue paying stipends to Yeshiva students is conscientious, social, governmental and economic bankruptcy."

"The Israeli government and Ultra-Orthodox politicians are trapping thousands of families in poverty, while causing an actual blow to Israel's economic and social strength," Karev added.

"We hope that the High Court will draw a red line before the continuation of discrimination and will signal to the government and the members of the Ultra-Orthodox parties that this celebration at the public's expense is over," he said.