Local Authorities to Stop Funding Water and Electricity at Chareidi Schools


img_1017Many Chinuch Atzmai and Maayan Hachinuch HaTorani schools in Eretz Yisroel were astonished to receive notices from local authorities saying that water and electricity accounts would be terminated and that they would receive only 75 percent of the funding amounts allocated for other schools. The new policies are based on the Local Authorities Education Law, legislated in the face of staunch opposition by UTJ, which claimed that it contained numerous faults and would cause enormous damage to schools rather than fix things.

A few years ago then Assistant Attorney General Amnon De Hartoch raised a number of legal obstacles to funding Torah- based school networks, changing their status to that of Chinuch Atzmai schools, thereby placing their funding at the discretion of the respective local authorities. To solve this problem, Shas advanced the Local Authorities Education Law, with De Hartoch’s involvement in the details of its legislation. UTJ representatives warned the move posed a real threat to funding and not a salvation. Prior to these developments, local authorities provided these schools the same operating funding that mainstream schools receive.

The harm to the networks of schools affected goes far beyond the basic directive. The schools will henceforth have to pay for their own electricity, water, secretaries, fuel, teaching aides and cleaning services. Existing contracts will be cancelled and workers will be fired, and when the school secretary or janitor goes on leave, the school will be unable to bring in a substitute from the municipality as has been the practice up until now. Local authorities will be unable to employ any workers employed by municipal companies and if products break or are damaged, the municipality will not provide replacements. The schools will no longer be allowed to use buildings unless they are allocated through a difficult public process. The new law will completely alter the “attitude” of the government towards Chinuch Atzmai and Maayan Hachinuch HaTorani schools. Where they had been considered equivalent to regular schools, now they will be funded at arms’ length.

The law was delayed repeatedly during the past two years. Chinuch Atzmai heads held numerous meetings with the Justice Ministry and the Education Ministry, pointing out the problems involved in implementing the law and how local authorities would have a free hand to slash budgets. They consistently noted that the intent of the law was to solve a difficult problem but it was carried out incompletely, despite clear warnings. Now it has led to serious problems.

A given local authority can opt to pay the remaining 25 percent, but it would have to grant it through allocation and support payment procedures and to make the funds available to all sectors, including minorities.

“This is an unprecedented move,” said MK Rabbi Uri Maklev. “It’s a very long process created as a result of the directives given and after trying through all means, including legal opinions and consultation, to deal with the problems involved in implementing the law. These directives, which were issued long ago, were passed on for further clarification, but at the end of the day, following an unequivocal Justice Ministry opinion, it cannot be corrected, except through legislation. After exhausting all options and many talks and certain alterations, this is the situation we have to cope with now. We’re trying to secure another extension before the law is implemented, and we’re working on the issue with the Interior Ministry, but apparently we’ll only be able to rectify it through legislation, which will be impossible until after the elections. Our hope is to be an influential factor as a strong party and to right this wrong.”

 {Yechiel Sever-Deiah veDibur/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Wonderfull! Just wonderfull!
    Do you know, does Torah Community know, does GOVERNMENT know that “Russian Israeli” seniors, almost none of whom knows alef-beis(forget about SPEAKING and READING Hebrew), in addition to the huge payola from Sharansky years ago, RECEIVE THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION(windfall oil profits) PENSIONS(unfortunately not in rubls but in shekels)?
    With knowledge of this, MY SKIN CRAWLS when I hear that Charedishe kinderlach don’t have what to eat(!),Torah school budgets, like in the case above, are cut, and so on and so forth…
    P.S.Soviet seniors of Netanya, Kiryat Ata, etc. all have children in the USA, who make a good living. Their non-Semitic language, Russian, is totally foreign to the Land of Israel…But Chareidishe have to go to the other side of Atlantics to beg…