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Israeli university students protest yeshiva stipends bill

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Israeli university students protest yeshiva stipends bill

Thousands of university students across Israel staged demonstrations on Wednesday in protest against a new bill that would provide stipends to full-time yeshiva students. In one rally outside the Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem today, students from Hebrew University released roosters onto the streets, yelling, “Wake up, Bibi, students are worth more!” Many ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel spend most of their adult life studying Torah and the Talmud rather than joining the work force, arguing that their devotion to religious studies bring prosperity and protection to the nation. Most secular and modern Orthodox Jews resent any efforts by haredi politicians to then milk the state treasury for funding for these communities, who have voluntarily impoverished themselves. The ultra-Orthodox Shas party submitted the stipends bill as part of the 2011-2012 budget and on Monday the Knesset approved the first reading of the budget, despite a recent Supreme Court ruling that such a stipends measure is discriminatory. Universities students around the country are now planning a sustained campaign against the “disgusting law,” which could include some other wacky means of protest.

 

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