On Sunday’s Parliamentary session, the Knesset pretends to limit to five years the stipends that yeshiva students receive from the government, Haaretz reported.According to the new passage of the budget, full time yeshiva students will be able to receive a stipend for the first four years and in the fifth year they will recieve a reduced amount and will have to integrate into the workforce. This measure aims to solve the issue of the Israeli citizens, most of them ultra-Orthodox Jews, who do not work or pay taxes to the state.
In addition, the number of students who will get stipends after the fifth year will be limited to 2,000, who will recieve NIS 1,040 per month.
Earlier this year, The Knesset approved a proposition of NIS 111 million intended for yeshiva students’ stipends in the state budget. The project was included by the Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz in the state budget. The budget was passed despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu having just appointed a committee to examine the stipends for full-time yeshiva students.
Meanwhile, the passage of the budget has sparked criticism, especially from university students, who recently have held protests in different cities of Israel. On Wednesday, 12 students were injured during a demonstration in Tel Aviv, where hundreds of people were congregated to protest against the measure.
The National Union of Israeli Students, led by Itzik Shmueli, claimed the decision of the High Court of Justice that the stipends are discriminatory and proposed an alternative document which asked for the same helps for college and university students.
In addition, the students union proposed to give stipends to both yeshiva students and college students from poor socioeconomic backgrounds, and to make them earn 150% of the minimum wage (about NIS 5,700) until they lose their stipends, Haaretz stated.
According to the students, the goal would be to encourage employment, as in Israel there are about 11,000 full time yeshiva students who receive stipends with no time constraints.