OU Commends PM Olmert for Restoring Funds (60 Million NIS) in Support of Religious Zionist Schools in Israeli Budget; Advocacy by Religious Zionist Knesset Members, Community Leaders and Diaspora Organizations Yields Positive Result
Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America – the largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization in the United States – commended Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for restoring 60 million Shekel to Israel’s budget to support Religious Zionist primary and secondary schools after the funds for those schools had been cut dramatically.
The move by Prime Minister Olmert comes in the wake of an array of efforts by Religious Zionist leaders, organizations and citizens to have the cuts reversed. In recent weeks, students and teachers at the schools held a day of strike, Members of Knesset including Zevulun Orlev (NRP) and others advocated for the change as did leaders of World Mizrachi and several Religious Zionist organizations in the Diaspora including the Orthodox Union.
The Orthodox Union communicated privately to the Prime Minister its profound disappointment over the budget cuts and urged that Mr. Olmert restore the funds to the schools lest Israeli society be weakened in the long term for a short term fiscal gain.
In the wake of being informed that the Prime Minister has restored 60 million shekel of funds to the Religious Zionist schools, Orthodox Union president Stephen Savitsky and executive Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb stated:
“The Orthodox Union and the Religious Zionist community appreciate the responsiveness of Prime Minister Olmert to our pleas that budget funds be restored to the Religious Zionist schools. By doing so, Mr. Olmert has shown his recognition of the critical role these schools – and Religious Zionism – play in the life of Israel.”