JERUSALEM (VINnews) — At a meeting of the Knesset’s socioeconomic committee Tuesday, Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman said that he intends to halve the number of hours that chareidi men must spend in study in order to qualify for state stipends, freeing up their time to join the workforce.Join our WhatsApp group
Subscribe to our Daily Roundup Email
Liberman said that the idea was to provide “positive incentives” to encourage more chareidi men and Arab women to find jobs. The current requirement for receiving a government stipend for those learning in kollel is to study at least 40 hours a week. Liberman intends to provide the same stipend for 20 hours a week, thus freeing up hours for those who wish to work while studying part time.
Liberman did not describe how he intends to increase the representation of Arab women in the workforce.
“We intend to enlarge the pie, to reduce the gaps in Israeli society, and to strengthen the middle class,” said Liberman, a champion of secular rights. However Liberman’s carrots are also mixed with sticks. On Monday he unveiled a new plan which would end daycare subsidies for children of full-time kollel students as well as nixing property tax discounts which they currently receive.
Liberman also intends to offer financial benefits to Haredi schools that teach core curriculum subjects such as math, science, and English.
Channel 13 said Monday that the main obstacle to the plan was coalition party leaders’ desire to work in the future with chareidi parties. Supporting such measures will no doubt enrage ultra-Orthodox lawmakers and may undermine the prospects for future political cooperation.
Likud MK David Amsalem responded to the new initiatives of Liberman in a Ynet interview.
Amsalem said that “the regular public in Israel, the Jewish and traditional majority, wants a state with a traditional identity. The current government wants to eradicate any vestige of Judaism.”
Amsalem added that “the government is persecuting those who study Torah as if they were Hezbollah fighters.”