Religion Magazine

Haredi MKs Demand Less Torah Learning

By Gldmeier @gldmeier

A very strange demand was made yesterday in the meeting of the Knesset Committee for Sharing the Burden (led by MK Ayelet Shaked). They were working out details of the new law being formulated, and MKs Moshe Gafni and Meir Porush demanded that the number of hours required of married kollel avreichim (not unmarried students) to learn Torah be cut from 45 hours weekly to 35 hours weekly. the committee compromised on 40 hours.
(Source: NRG)
Very strange that the haredi representatives demanded less Torah learning.
To their credit they explained that despite the number of hours required being less, the avreichim would not change their schedules and would still learn much more than required, because that's how it works in yeshiva/kollel.
I have not seen any explanation of why they demanded less hours required - perhaps to minimize governmental control over Torah learning, perhaps to ease the tension on an avreich who might come up short one week due to external issues (illness, family problems, etc). I don't know what it is, but they must have a reason rather than just to lessen Torah learning.
I do wonder if rosh kollels, who are strapped for money and overburdened with fundraising responsibilities, will say to their avreichim that they are paying less because the official hours are now going to be shorter.
Hiddush lodged a complaint with the change in hours required. Funnily enough they said that demanding the lessening of the hours required turns the Haredi MKs into the main opponents of Torah learning in Israel. They also said "after years of telling us how important torah learning is for the security of the state, they are now trying to cut a quarter of torah learning of the avreichim, and they compromised on cutting an eighth... We are talking about 200,000 hours of torah learning per 1000 avreichim. It is hard to think of something more cynical than this.. the haredi MKs keep telling us that the avreichim "kill themselves day and night in the world of torah. Now the tuth is exposed - the fight against sharing the burden is not for torah learning but just to prevent haredi males from being drafted"
Gafni did not make it illegal for them to learn that number of hours, just made them only obligated in a smaller number. Just like the entire draft issue is not making it illegal to learn Torah - just at certain times, certain people will need to go to the army - but they can learn before and after, and other people can learn, and therefore the draft issue is not making Torah learning illegal, as some claim, neither is this.
While I disagree with the statement made by Hiddush, I do find the demand made by the Haredi MKs to be strange..
------------------------------------------------------ Reach thousands of readers with your ad by advertising on Life in Israel ------------------------------------------------------

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog