Hiddush Challenges “Coalition Funds”

Hiddush submitted a petition against the attempt to transfer millions to the budget of the ultra-Orthodox school networks; and a petition that stopped the allocation of "Deri's food tickets"

Screenshot Haaretz (Yariv Katz) Education Minister KishScreenshot Haaretz (Yariv Katz) Education Minister Kish

In the coming days, we will be getting closer to a ruling on two important petitions that Hiddush submitted, and reported upon previously.

The first is a petition against the attempt to add hundreds of millions of shekels per year to the budget of the school networks operated by the two ultra-Orthodox parties. This attempt is in violation of the law, Ministry of Education regulations and every principle of due process and good government. The Petition was scheduled for debate on April 8th. It is clear that its submission was the cause of considerable embarrassment to the coalition partners and caused difficulty in implementing their plan to transfer the funds, without asserting that the schools teach core curriculum studies to boys, and that they possess a teaching force capable and competent of teaching the core subjects. At this stage there is a conflict between the politicians and the professional officers in the Ministry of Finance, who expressed themselves strongly regarding the conduct of the education networks, which they publicized following our petition.

For example, senior economic reporter, Meirav Arlozorov, recently wrote in Haaretz's economic newspaper, The Marker:

“The Ministry of Education is acting against its own regulations. It does not know which ultra-Orthodox teachers are teaching, or if they are paid legally, it approves Rabbinical degrees instead of academic degrees – and exempts the vast majority of ultra-Orthodox teachers from the requirement of a teaching certificate …the petition by Hiddush uses the requirements of the Ministry of Education 

The Ministry of Education is collaborating with the ultra-Orthodox schools in breaking the law

itself to expose the corrupt bluff …of the funds transferred to the ultra-Orthodox education networks. We are on the verge of an absurd situation where an ultra-Orthodox school that does not have a single teacher trained to teach core curricular studies, receives recognition so that they may receive extra funds through the “New horizon” reform designed to increase core curricular studies. In doing so, the Ministry of Education is collaborating with the ultra-Orthodox schools in breaking the law, since it allows the ultra-Orthodox schools to receive the New Horizon budgets knowing that there are no teachers who can teach core studies.

Adv. Yifat Solel from Hiddush mentions that the core studies requirement, which is a central part of the New Horizon reform, is defined in the circular of the Director General of the Ministry of Education as including the requirement of participation in external tests (“Meitsav”). However, the ultra-Orthodox schools refuse to participate in these tests, and in doing so they are openly violating the core studies regulations.

Hiddush’s petition reveals that under the constraint of a coalition agreement, the Ministry of Education, is acting hand in hand with the ultra-Orthodox education networks to allow them to receive a budget increase of billions of shekels, even though the networks do not meet the requirements set for this budget increase …The beauty of the petition is that it uses the rules of the Ministry of Education itself to expose the corrupt bluff and the complete absurdity of the budgets 

Screenshot of Headline from from Times of Israel in reaction to Hiddush PetitionScreenshot of Headline from Times of Israel in reaction to Hiddush Petition

transferred to the ultra-Orthodox education networks. It is estimated that the State will have difficulty defending itself against the petition.”

We do not know yet how the Court will rule, but it is clear that our petition may stop the allotment of a significant portion of the funds promised in the coalition agreements to the ultra-Orthodox parties, in opposition to the principles of the rule of law.

In the second petition we reported on, we stopped the allocation of NIS 600 million in 2024 through the Shas party and its leader Rabbi Aryeh Deri, who controls the Ministry of the Interior, which last year distributed these funds, known to the public as "Deri's food tickets", primarily to ultra-Orthodox families. The funds were supposed to advance food security in Israel by allotting food subsidies. However, the criteria established by Deri contradicted the professional principles of the food security experts and were primarily intended for political purposes, i.e the transfer of funds to constituents of the ultra-OIrthodox parties while blatantly discriminating against other populations suffering from food insecurity.

Following our petition, the Court demanded that the government formulate revised criteria for the distribution of the money, and to also act and extensively to ensure the entitlement of additional populations who encounter difficulty exercising their rights. The court ordered the State to update it by April 1st on what has been done so far to meet these requirements, and at that time will decide on further steps in regard to the petition.

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