The decision to restrict daycare subsidies to working couples will affect a large number of haredi families.
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman announced Wednesday that parents who do not work, including yeshiva students, will no longer receive state-funded childcare subsidies.
“New priorities. Today, I decided to put an end to the ongoing crookedness in the State of Israel, in which the working public has been discriminated against,” Liberman wrote on Twitter.
Starting with the next school year, he continued, only couples in which both parents work will be eligible for a daycare subsidy.
He called the move an effort to “end paralysis in the labor market and take care of the public who work and pay taxes.”
In the past, Liberman has promised to cut child tax benefits and other subsidies to haredi families in order to force the community to integrate into the labor market.
The decision to restrict daycare subsidies to working couples will affect a large number of ultra-Orthodox families, as in many households, the father studies in yeshiva and does not work.
Liberman emphasized that the decision would not affect single mothers or fathers – it applies strictly to married couples where one parent or both parents are unemployed.
Couples in which each spouse works 24 hours each week will be entitled to the subsidy, as well as those who are enrolled in vocational training or educational frameworks that will result in “future integration into the labor market.”
Once parents become employed, they will be eligible for the subsidy from the first day of work.
The announcement immediately sparked a backlash from haredi politicians.
“The first decision of the Minister of Finance was to harm the ultra-Orthodox,” Shas MK Aryeh Deri told Arutz 7.
“Liberman, in a predatory and vindictive move, decided to harm families with children only because they are ultra-Orthodox. Bennett and Saar, who promised to ‘take care of the ultra-Orthodox,’ formed a hate government that promotes harm to the world of Torah.”
‘Bennett is bad, a liar’
United Torah Judaism MK Ya’akov Litzman told Ynet that he held Prime Minister Naftali Bennett partially responsible for Liberman’s decision.
“Bennett is bad, a liar…I’m not afraid to say that. Look at what’s going on here.
“Evet is simply crazy,” Litzman said, referring to Liberman by his Russian birth name. “His hatred is driving him insane.”
Liberman’s right-wing nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party promotes a staunchly secular platform, which includes civil marriage, public transportation on Shabbat, and mandatory conscription to the IDF for haredi men.
He has spoken publicly about his disdain for haredi politicians, declaring in the run-up to the 2021 elections that the ultra-Orthodox parties should be “taken to the landfill in a wheelbarrow.”