Funding for ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) education has become a major political topic in Israel. This article examines the conventional notion that funding for Haredi pupils increases as Haredi political strength rises. A study was conducted examining the correlation between budget changes and the political strength of the Haredi parties at three levels: parliamentary representation, extent of coalition partnership, and a government headed by their political ally, the Likud. The correlation was checked against the Budget Law and against actual budget expenditures during 1996–2006.
Findings show the opposite of the widespread perception. Although the Haredi parties are becoming more powerful in all areas, the funding per Haredi pupil is decreasing in relation to pupils in the general education system. While political power is reflected in the Budget Law, actual funding to Haredi education has been reduced significantly. The summary presents the “boomerang effect” model that emerges from these findings.