Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 13 August 2007
Haaretz correspondent Or Kashti reports in today's Hebrew edition:
The heads of the pre-army institutions (mechinot) attacked Minister of Education Yuli Tamir (Labor) for failing to protect them from budget cuts that could force them not to open this September . The budget gap is some 10 million shekels.
"We have no explanation for Yuli Tamir's behavior. She embraces us but in the end the budget is small. In all the budget cuts during Limor Livnat's (Likud) period, the budget of the pre-army mechinot was not hurt.
Yitzchak Rabin Mechina
According to data from the Ministry of Education, last school year some 1,800 students attended some 30 institutions as compared to some 1,000 in 2001. 40% of the students attend secular mechinot, a rate that increases with each year. Some 70% of graduates serve in combat units and 30% become officers.
According to Zamir, the budget of 20 million shekels has not been adjusted since 1999 and this despite decisions to increase it. "In the last seven years every Government and minister of education took care not to cut the budget of the mechinot - even when there was an across the board cut. Livnat would call us and tell us that we could rest easy. During the period of Yuli Tamir, the policy has changed," explained Zamir.
A senior source in the Ministry of Education added: "Livnat adopted the principle that the budget of the mechinot would not be touched, despite all the pressure. Tamir isn't one to put up a fight."
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