Ministries of Finance and Education Urge Haredi Institutions to Teach Core Curriculum | The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com | David Israel | 28 Sivan 5782 – June 27, 2022

Photo credit: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman, June 21, 2022.

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman and Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Bitton announced Monday that beginning September 1, when the new school year begins in Israel, every Haredi school that commits to teaching three subjects core areas of the curriculum: Hebrew, English and math, and whose students pass external tests, would receive 100% coverage of its budget, even though it does not belong to the two main independent Haredi-run education systems by Shas and United Torah Judaism.

Haredi educational institutions will receive an annual grant on an ongoing basis, based on the rate of their students passing the tests. The higher their rate, the higher the annual grant to the educational institution. Additionally, in the first year, each Haredi-compliant school will receive a one-time award of NIS 6,000 ($1,760) per student.

Haredi educational institutions that join the program will benefit from professional training for their educational staff, the employment of professional teachers and the adaptation of curricula and textbooks. The program will be allocated an additional 4.5 million shekels ($1.3 million) per year to cover these special costs. And if the costs turned out to be higher, the two ministries undertook to expand the budgetary framework as needed.

Liberman proves his political savvy with this unexpected deal as he has been portrayed by the Haredi media as an enemy (which he surely has been on occasion). As several haredi newspapers noted on Monday, lavishing these funds on haredi schools would cause them to migrate from the two independent systems and weaken both Shas and UTJ. If Haredi schools are no longer dependent on them for their budgets and can provide much more in exchange for the introduction of Hebrew, English and math – skills that many parents want for their children, Shas and UTJ will no longer keep these schools, and parents under their control. This would reinforce the tendency of Haredim to move away from their traditional parties and vote for non-haredi right-wing parties.

Or, as Minister Liberman said on Monday: “The integration of Haredim into the labor market goes through an important stage, namely the studies of the basic curriculum in schools. Finally, we are embarking on a meaningful program that will enable Haredi students to both maintain their lifestyle and gain the skills needed to enter the job market.

Ultimately, hundreds of thousands of Haredim will earn college degrees and increase their incomes, repaying the investment and becoming more ready for some integration. In 20 years, when the number of haredim rises to dominate large swaths of Israeli society, they will also participate in driving the country’s economy, as haredi professionals do all over the world.