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January 02, 2012

Jewish Agency Denies Ha'aretz Claims About Scholarships

haaretz logo.jpg

The first paragraph of a front-page article by Revital Blumenfeld in Ha'aretz warns today:

Thousands of immigrants could be forced to drop out of school if the Jewish Agency moves forward with a plan to end scholarship funding at the end of the current academic year.

Moreover, the fifth paragraph of the article in the print edition alleges:

Those caught in the middle of their degree programs when the scholarships end would have to come up with the rest of the tuition themselves, or be forced to drop out of school.

Oddly, this paragraph does not appear in the online edition. Generally, online articles contain more, not less, information than their print counterparts, since space is not an issue on the Internet. Perhaps that paragraph was quietly cut from the Web edition after a complaint from the Jewish Agency. IMRA published the Jewish Agency's denial of Ha'aretz's claim that students will be left in a lurch, and forced to drop out:

We are shocked at the falsehoods published in this story. We were not given sufficient opportunity to respond before the article went to print. Our key message: No student will be hurt, no funds will be lost to the Student Authority. The Jewish Agency is indeed pulling out of funding the Absorption Ministry's Student Authority, because it is the right and smart thing to do. But we have secured in recent weeks iron-clad guarantees from several government sources that government agencies will step in and make up the difference. It is altogether appropriate that the government, rather than donors, take responsibility for long-term absorption and higher education of olim. The government agrees with us on this point. We promise now, as we promised in every meeting with the government: We will not pull out until the government steps in. Even after making this promise, the government has agreed to step in, because it recognizes its responsibility for the long-term success of olim in Israel.

We do not want to speculate on the motivations behind the publication of such an egregious misrepresentation of the facts.

Haviv Rettig Gur
Director of Communications
Jewish Agency for Israel
Cell: +972-(0)50-205-2627

It seems that for the third time in less than one week Ha'aretz owes its readers an apology.

Posted by TS at January 2, 2012 07:18 AM


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