TEL AVIV (JTA) — Israel must stop providing monthly living stipends to haredi Orthodox yeshiva students, the nation’s Supreme Court ruled.
The stipends, which were intended to encourage integration into Israel’s workforce, were not having the desired effect, the court ruled Sunday in a unanimous opinion. Instead, the court said the funding amounted to discrimination against university students, who do not receive such stipends.
Set to take effect in January, the ruling was responding to a suit filed by the National Union of Israeli Students and an array of religious pluralism groups. The suit was based on a 2010 Supreme Court ruling that state scholarships to yeshiva students amounted to preferential treatment, according to reports.
Israel had increased financial aid to university students in the intervening four years, but the court said the measure had not resolved the inequality between yeshiva and university students.
“The claim that funding yeshiva students over a long period of time — four years, without obligating them to acquire any professional training or skill set during this time — encourages them to enter the workforce at the end of said period is extremely problematic,” Judge Elyakim Rubinstein wrote in the unanimous opinion, according to the Times of Israel.