Shas School Network Agrees to Reimburse Staff for Mandatory Newspaper Subscriptions

Schools affiliated with the Shas party required to teachers to have a subscription to the party newspaper Yom Leyom. Compensating teachers for subscription fees will cost 22 million shekel ($6.5 million)

Emil Salman

The Ma’ayan Hahinuch Hatorani network of schools affiliated with the Shas party will compensate each member of the school network’s staff 40 shekels (about $12) for every month that they worked after requiring them to buy subscriptions to the party’s newspaper, Yom Leyom. Since the Shas school system has about 6,550 employees, the settlement will involve reimbursement of 22 million shekels ($6.5 million).

The 40-shekel monthly sum is roughly the amount that was deducted from employees’ salaries every month for the subscription. The compensation comes in a settlement submitted to the Tel Aviv regional labor court on Monday of a class action suit. The lawyers for the class of plaintiffs will get 150,000 shekels in legal fees. In settling the case, the school system is not admitting any wrongdoing. Within the past year, Yom Leyom has been sold by the party and is now under private ownership.

The suit alleged that acceptance for employment at the Shas schools was conditioned on a deduction for the Yom Leyom subscription without any explanation or opportunity to complain. For its part, Ma’ayan Hahinuch Hatorani said the claim of the lead plaintiff, Avishai Greenzweig, was not well-founded because he had “voluntarily” assented to the subscription in documents he signed to work at the school system, and because after he complained about the subscription fee, the salary deduction for it was stopped and his subscription canceled.

The settlement came at a hearing in the case on Monday and will apply to all employees who have had any amounts deducted for subscriptions from their salaries for the past seven years.

Greenzweig said he considers the settlement a dual achievement in not only winning reimbursement for subscriptions, but also the assurance that employees subscribing to the new Shas newspaper, Haderech, will do so on their own and not through their employer.