The Finance Ministry’s legal adviser Asi Messing throws a wrench in the government’s plans to pass the budget tonight, ruling that grants to yeshiva students cannot start until October.
The retroactive grants to cover the full calendar year 2023 were a key demand of the United Torah Judaism party in order to support the budget.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich promised to boost funding for ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students and their families by up to NIS 250 million to win their support and said that the funding would come from any surplus in NIS 1.2 billion in discretionary funds already allocated for ultra-Orthodox schools.
But Messing says that the payments can only start in October, once it has been established that there actually is a surplus, and not earlier just based on the assumption that there will be extra cash.
It is not immediately clear how this will affect the ultra-Orthodox party’s votes.