Jan 20, 2020

Netanyahu's free pass despite cutting yeshiva budgets

The Ministry of Finance is cutting budgets. Among other things, the budget allocated for yeshiva students and avreichim is also being cut.

The news has publicized a series of meetings that were to be held by leaders of the Haredi parties, the Ministry of Finance and PM Benjamin Netanyahu to try to find a solution, to try to persuade the MoF to scrap the budget cuts, to find alternate monies, or some other solution to save the yeshivas and avreichim from these cuts.

At the last minute the meetings were canceled by Netanyahu. Supposedly Netanyahu was concerned about the publicity the issue would receive in the press of him cutting budgets of various items but agreeing to increase the budgets for yeshivas, or at least cancel the planned cuts if not an actual increase.

In the grand scheme of things, it does not sound like a lot of money, but when bundled with all the other budget cuts it is probably pretty significant.

According to Actualic, the Prime Minister's Office told the Haredi politicians to lower their profile on the matter and not turn it into a crisis and not talk about this topic in interviews. UTJ seems to think that despite the efforts they plan to continue to make to avert the budget cuts, it is a done deal and there won't be anything for them to do.

According to Behadrei, the cuts are so significant that the new numbers are similar to what the yeshivas and avreichim received from the government back in the days of Yair Lapid's government (also under Netanyahu). The numbers they publish, if accurate, are pretty similar.

I am surprised. The Haredi parties have backed Netanyahu through thick and thin in recent years and have been unwavering in their support. This does not seem like so much money that Netanyahu would not agree to give it back, especially considering the support he received from them. Netanyahu has overseen significant budget cuts to the yeshivas a number of times already.

Back in the day Netanyahu, as Finance Minister in 2003 I think, cut yeshiva budgets and child allowances. Thart was harsh, but Netanyahu was quickly forgiven.

In 2013 Yair Lapid was Finance Minister under Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister, and Lapid cut the yeshiva bdgets significantly. Lapid has been treated as an anti-haredi politician since then with Haredi politicians refusing to sit with him or even talk with him, yet Netanyahu who was overall in charge was let off the hook.

Now in 2020 Netanyahu is Prime Minister and the Likud holds the FInance Ministry and budgets are again being cut. I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but so far the Haredi politicians are making nary a peep.

Somehow Netanyahu gets a free pass on these issues. Not only does it seem the Haredi politicians won't be making much noise about this, but they will also likely continue supporting him for Prime Minister more solidly than anyone else...

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