Punishing American Learning in Israel

Besides the legal changes affecting the funding for the Yeshivos, the Religion Ministry under Bennet has a few tricks up its sleeve that we don’t even know about. I just spoke with a Rosh Yeshiva in Israel whom I know personally to confirm details of this, and who insisted that his name not be used, so he had no reason to exaggerate.

Like college after the end of exams, students from abroad will often exit during the last few days of a yeshiva zman, especially at the end of the winter before Pesach. It is quite routine that if a zman ends on Monday, for example, students will be permitted to fly back home on Saturday night or Sunday.

The inspectors from the Religion Ministry are essentially hired accountants, who come to visit a yeshiva and see how many students they have. But they do not have control over their schedules. An inspector who had visited a yeshiva several times previously, and knew that it was functioning and flourishing, was deliberately instructed to come visit the yeshiva on Sunday, immediately prior to the “official” end of zman but once all the students had been let go. And by taking a tally at that time, he was forced to report that the Yeshiva had a tiny fraction of the students that it claimed, had lied to the government, and not only should not receive money but should be forced to pay money back to the ministry that it had taken illegally.

All of which, of course, the inspector knew to be false, and he was honestly quite apologetic about it to the Rosh Yeshiva.

The Rosh Yeshiva sounded content and happy as he always is, but the Yeshiva was facing very significant debts before this happened. This is how you ruin an institution which brings hundreds of young men to spend lots of money in Israel — with lies and fraud. It’s how you murder a person via government fiat. Believe what you will, but this is the truth. This is what now runs the government of Israel.

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