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Serious Budget Cuts To Israeli Seminaries

The schools are taking a hit due to the Ministry of Finance’s effort to reduce spending Read More

By / October 15, 2013

After announcing massive IDF budget cuts in June, Finance Minister Yair Lapid isn’t slowing down. His latest plan slashes the budget for religious women’s seminaries in half. The 50 percent seminary budget cut is just the next effort from the finance ministry to meet its goal of cutting NIS 1.5 billion (roughly $416 million US dollars) by the year’s end.

According to Israel National News, the 50 percent cut has threatened tens of institutions with closure.

Tzahi Dickstein, CEO of the Union for seminaries Teaching Judaism and Land of Israel Studies, said that this year’s annual budget is facing a significant deficit. Whereas a full budget requires around NIS 15 million, this year’s budget stands at less than half, at 7 million.

Under the jurisdiction of the Torah Culture Desk at the Ministry of Education, three decades of educational activities, studies and tours around the country organized by the seminaries now look to be in serious danger of being axed.

The seminaries union has since sent a letter to the Bayit Yehuda Party, which promotes religious education, asking for help saying, “A cut of more than 50% to budgets threatens [seminaries] ability to provide the quality educational activities they have been delivering for many years.”

After earlier cuts on yeshivas (the equivalent of seminaries for men), critics have accused Lapid of unfairly targeting religious institutions, but with another NIS $3 billion (roughly $833 million) to cut in 2014, the future isn’t looking bright for government funded projects in general.

(Photo by Menahem Kahana/Getty)