10,000 haredi (ultra-orthodox) yeshiva students have allegedly defrauded the Ministry of Education of NIS 4.5 million in scholarships for classes they never took. A ministry audit discovered the fraud. The Ministry of Education told "Globes" that the yeshiva students fraudulently received monthly stipends of NIS 450 each for their studies.
Although the Ministry of Education revoked the stipends, it did not reduce the total budget for haredi yeshivas. At the initiative of Knesset Finance Committee chairman MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism), the remaining stipends were redirected to other yeshiva students, who received larger stipends. The total is NIS 30-50 million. The ministry claims that its audit cut the number of yeshiva students receiving stipends by 10%, but the remaining students will get more money.
Hiddush for Religious Freedom and Equality VP Shahar Ilan told "Globes" that, because of tighter auditing of yeshiva's by the Ministry of Education, yeshivas at their own initiative deleted 10,000 fictitious students from their rolls to avoid losing government funding. Hiddush protested that the money not spent on fictitious stipends will not be used to integrate haredim in the labor force through job training or other incentives. Hiddush calls for even stricture audits and to prosecute the heads of yeshivas who defrauded the government.