Tension between chareidi and religious Zionist MKs seemed to reach an all-time high Tuesday, with the issue of funding for foreign students at Israeli yeshivos discussed at the Knesset’s Finance Committee. The committee has proposed the allowance, amounting to several hundred shekels per student, be axed.
Moshe Gafni of United Torah Judaism warned HaBayit HaYehudi’s MK Nissan Slomiansky, the head of the committee, that ending the budget would “sever ties between charedim and national religious with one sharp cut.”
MK Yaakov Litzman appealed to Slomiansky, “I turn to you as head of the committee, who is able to stop this terrible decree that will slash the budget of foreign students.” The state is committing an unforgivable crime, Litzman said, “there is no value to these extensions in the budget that you are so proud of. Look what is befalling the world of Torah! You are cutting off flesh from the yeshivot for foreign students. This is daylight robbery, and I call upon all members of the committee to vehemently oppose the passing of this budget, and for this decree to be cancelled. What message is this giving, that we are telling the whole world not to come and learn Torah in Israel.”
He quoted “From Tzion shall the Torah go forth,” and added, “Now [Yesh Atid head] Yair Lapid and [Bayit Yehudi head] Naftali Bennett are telling everyone not come here to study Torah, and are closing the doors of the yeshivot to foreign students.”
MK Gafni turned to the chairman of the committee and said “The gap between us is now like between chareidi Jews and secular Jews. For the first time, in history, you are coming and taking money from yeshivot and giving it to the ‘settlements’. Don’t let this happen,” he said, adding that “with one sharp cut you will sever the relationship between the chareidi and religious Zionist communities.” Read more at ARUTZ SHEVA.