In the following op-ed penned for Haaretz, IDI Research Fellow Yair Sheleg laments the dependence of ultra-Orthodox Yeshiva students on public funds and calls on the Netanyahu administration to reduce the stipends.
Ultra-Orthodox wheeler-dealers must not think the Israeli public very intelligent. If they thought otherwise, they would not dare raise the demagogic argument that people who support canceling special benefits for yeshiva students want to condemn thousands of families to starvation.
After all, there are other ways than state support for parents to prevent their children from starving − going to work, and only if that fails, seeking help.
For that reason, we should not accept the generosity of the Haredim, who are willing to let secular students receive benefits as well. Not only has it been shown that hardly any students meet the criteria in question, but in principle, Israeli society does not need secular loafers to add to the Haredi ones, but rather for the latter to be gainfully employed...
Yair Sheleg is a Research Fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute.
This article was first published in Haaretz on November 1, 2010.