Israeli chief rabbi: give stipends to yeshiva and university students

An Israeli chief rabbi told university students that stipends for yeshiva students should also apply to them.

Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar met Thursday with leaders of the National Students Union at his office in Jerusalem to discuss an amendment to the state budget bill that includes stipends for married full-time yeshiva students. The meeting comes amid ongoing protests by university students against the yeshiva stipend.

The amendment to the budget granting the stipends comes after an Israeli Supreme Court ruling in June that said paying stipends to yeshiva students and not to university students constitutes discrimination. Amar reportedly asked the students to tone down their demonstrations, since he said they were perceived as being anti-haredi Orthodox.

Student Union Head Itzik Shmueli told reporters following the meeting that “we were pleased to find that the rabbi has an open door and an open ear to our problems.”

Shmueli also said that the student protest “is not against the haredim or the yeshiva students, it is merely in favor of equality and the greater incorporation of the religious public into the workforce.”

In addition to expressing agreement that university students should also receive government stipends, Amar reportedly also agreed that haredi Israelis should be integrated into the workforce.