After Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman announced last month that he intends to change the conditions for eligibility for discounts or full funding at daycare centers for the children of Haredi yeshiva students—which caused quite a storm in July, there now appears to be a significant loophole in the program that favors those Haredi students, News12 reported Thursday night (הפרצה בתוכנית ליברמן לשלול את סבסוד מעונות היום מאברכים).
The criteria of the Economy Ministry determining who is entitled to a subsidy in daycare centers were published on Thursday, and the section regarding the children of Torah students was omitted, just as Lieberman had demanded. However, another section was introduced to the criteria by the Justice Ministry which is expected to provide state funding for the children of many yeshiva students.
According to the new section that was inserted into the criteria, anyone who studies under government supervision or with government funding—with the aim of integrating into the labor market—is also entitled to state funding for his children’s daycare.
Every student who receives an allowance of a few hundred shekels from the Ministry of Religions is considered to be studying under government supervision or funding. This means that anyone participating in Rabbinical or Dayan-halachic judge tests is actually learning a profession—and his children are therefore entitled to a daycare subsidy.
Deputy Attorney General Raz Nizri said as much Wednesday night in a debate on the subject. According to Nizri, the rabbinate and halachic jurisprudence are professions, which means that it would be difficult to prevent a yeshiva student who is under government supervision and takes government tests to get the funding for his children’s daycare.
Another path available to yeshiva students looking to receive government funding for their kids’ daycare is signing up for a course for kashrut supervisors. Kashrut supervision is also considered a profession under government guidelines, and, mind you, receiving the daycare funding does not require that the yeshiva student graduate from the course, only that he register.
MK Moshe Arbel (Shas) has already sent an official letter to the Minister of Economy and Industry Orna Barbivai (Yesh Atid), and AG Avichai Mandelblit, demanding that all yeshiva students be recognized as eligible for subsidized daycare based on the above criteria.
And should all else fail, yeshiva students will be eligible for free daycare if they enroll for at least 24 hours a week in courses such as:
- Undergraduate or graduate studies in a recognized academic institution.
- Ulpan for new immigrants.
- A teacher’s certificate course that’s recognized by the Ministry of Education.
- Any course under government supervision and/or funding that encourages integration into the labor market.
- Studies for a technical degree.
- Nurse’s aid courses in schools that are authorized by the Ministry of Health.
- A course in nutrition offered by the national training center of the Ministry of Health.
Again, you don’t have to graduate from these courses to be eligible for free daycare – only to register.