The Devastating Effect of Court’s Decision to Halt Stipends to Avreichim


yeshivaIt took the Israeli High Court of Justice a decade since the original petition was submitted to rule against the distribution of welfare payments to married men learning in kollelim. For the chareidi community¬†affected by yesterday’s ruling, it could not have come at a worse time.The Knesset members from the chareidi parties are promising to find a way to compensate for the lost budget item, but it won’t be easy after the court ruled that awarding stipends to avreichim but not to students at nonreligious institutions of higher education is illegal and unconstitutional.

Charedi cabinet ministers and MKs will fight for a line item that costs NIS 135 million a year. The loss of the income support payments come on top of the cuts introduced a few years ago to child support payments, and will hurt many who are plagued by poverty.

According to Chaim, a 31-year-old avreich, yesterday’s ruling “could bring us to the point of starvation.” He has four children.

“As it is I’m running between tzedakos and gemachim to get loans every time one of the kids needs dental care.”

Every month, Chaim receives NIS 2,400 from his kollel. NIS 855 of the stipend is from the state, the remainder from donations to the institution. He also receives NIS 1,040 in income support, or welfare.

Nearly 11,000 avreichim receive the state stipend. Officially, Chaim and his family of six live on NIS 3,440 a month, plus occasional assistance from their families. That amount will sink to NIS 2,400 next year, assuming that neither he nor his wife start working.

In 1981, during the coalition negotiations between Likud and Agudas Yisrael, Rabbi Menachem Porush, then chairman of the Knesset Labor Committee, persuaded Prime Minister Menachem Begin to agree to an arrangement under which funds would be channeled to avreichim via the Ministry of Religious Affairs. Today the allocations are handled by the Ministry of Education.

Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush, Menachem Porush’s nephew, yesterday castigated the High Court’s “stupid and base attempt to deprive students of Torah of basic necessities.”

He characterized as “repulsive” the parallel drawn by the court between yeshiva students and university students. “Yeshiva students study for dozens of hours every week in order to preserve the soul of the Jewish people,” he said.

{Yair Israel, Haaretz}


  1. “That amount will sink to NIS 2,400 next year, assuming that neither he nor his wife start working.”

    Perhaps it is time he and his wife start working. The money has to come from soemwhere and if there is no money coming in from tax revenue than there is no money to go out to social programs.

  2. It is illogical to blame a tinnuk shenishba for not wanting to support a lifestyle he/she does not believe in or understand.

  3. my humble opinion is that everybody should open the choivos halevovos and learn and thereby PRACTICE bitochon. it’s not in our hands to have the money but it’s our responsibility to work for the money however much we have koiches for and then leave and put our heads on our gemoros – balabatim and bnei toira.

  4. from the the non-religious point of view, they have an excellent point; why should there be a differentiation between two universities?

  5. -A kolel avreich saw his charusa reserching tshuva seforim every night for 4 nights.
    -He asks him what are you doing?
    -Oh, I am looking for a heter on cheirim d’rabeinu Gershon that allows marriage to only one wife.
    -He looks at him quizically and astonished
    – “Oh! in these economic hard times I simply can’t live on only one income”

  6. Lemaseh, there is a poverty problem and the government has an achrayus to help out. we do that here in America as well.

  7. Chaim, the answer is so simple. Get a job!

    Billions of people the world over do it, and you wouldn’t believe it, but it really works. At the end of each month, your employer gives you some money and with that money you can clothe, feed and provide dental care for your lovely family k’ah.

    There’s really no need to starve.

  8. o it works does it whats the unemployment rate in your country or how many people do u know personally who lost thier job since the credit crunch i know plenty and thats beside the people who have worked for years and not been successful realise hashem decides who gets what and thats final
    And just cause you dont have the emunah that every penny you earn comes from g-d and not this employer your working for why go out against this guy who boruch hashem does