The saga of yeshiva and seminary students barred from entering Israel continues to aggravate institution heads, students and their parents.
At the start of the Corona crisis, the Interior Ministry banned foreign citizens from entering the State of Israel. Chaim V’Chessed was instrumental in arranging a process for student visa holders to return to Israel. On May 21, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri issued directives allowing yeshivas to apply for entry permits on behalf of their students. However, several days later, the Ministry abruptly cancelled permission for single students to enter the country.
Today, Chaim V’Chessed’s CEO, Rabbi Paysach Freedman, penned a scathing letter to Knesset officials regarding various irregularities in the current policies.
In his missive, Rabbi Freedman calls attention to the fact that there is no legal basis for differentiation between married and single students. Furthermore, he raises the infuriating fact that while single yeshiva students are barred from Israel, university students are allowed to enter the country. ‘Is the blood of some students more blue?’, he asks rhetorically.
Furthermore, Freedman reveals in his letter that students participating in a government program known as Masa have been receiving permission to enter Israel. However, many mainstream yeshivas are prevented from joining this program. Those institutions are doubly penalized, he says – they don’t receive Masa funds and now their students cannot enter the country!
Chaim V’Chessed is in close contact with a bevy of officials on this matter. A leader in the struggle on behalf of the yeshivas and seminaries has been MK Rabbi Yitzchak Pindrus. The son of American olim himself, Rabbi Pindrus has taken a vocal position on this topic. Pindrus says, “I could understand if this was simply a medical decision. But if some students are allowed to enter – why shouldn’t others?”
“The discriminatory nature of this decision is troubling”, states Rabbi Freedman. “We don’t intend to remain silent on this matter.”
Click here to read the letter.