Knesset passes veterans scholarships law after Likud agrees to Gantz’s compromise


Staff member
Knesset passes veterans scholarships law after Likud agrees to Gantz’s compromise
Defense minister alters bill at last-minute so that it covers 75% of ex-combat soldiers’ tuition costs instead of originally proposed 67%, leading Likud to drop its opposition
By TOI staff

The Knesset passed legislation granting tuition scholarships to IDF veterans early Tuesday after the Likud party agreed to a last-minute compromise proposal from Defense Minister Benny Gantz and withdrew its opposition to the bill. The coalition legislation originally sought to cover two-thirds of combat veterans’ tuition, though Likud refused to offer its support, first insisting that it didn’t want to give the coalition a parliamentary victory and then clarifying that it would only do so if the bill was amended to cover 100 percent of former soldiers’ college costs.

Two-thirds, however, has been the funding rate since the scholarship program began in 2016. Coalition sources said it intentionally leaves space for student self-funding, in order to create a sense of obligation for recipients to finish school.

Coalition leaders decided to move forward with the vote on Monday evening, daring the opposition parties to vote against such a popular bill. As the vote neared though, the 60-MK coalition appeared not to have enough votes to get it through, given reported refusal from the Islamist Ra’am faction along with rebel MKs Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi (Meretz) and Idit Silman (Yamina) to back the measure. Moments before the tally was held, Gantz announced that he was prepared to meet Likud halfway so that the bill would cover 75% of combat veterans’ tuition costs.