Following Adalah’s demands, Israel’s national lottery Mifal HaPais permits residents of Israel to apply for higher education scholarships

In 2021, Mifal HaPais awarded 38,000 scholarships, however, Palestinians in East Jerusalem and Syrians in the Golan Heights holding permanent Israeli residency were excluded, constituting discrimination.

Following Adalah’s repeated legal interventions, Mifal HaPais (the national lottery of Israel) informed Adalah in March 2022 that it changed the criteria for eligibility for their scholarship program, so that Israeli citizens, as well as permanent residents, are now eligible to apply. Adalah sent letters to Mifal HaPais and the Jerusalem municipality in 2019, 2021 and 2022 demanding a change to the eligibility critiera for higher education scholarships that excluded applicants with permanent residency in Israel, namely Palestinians living in Occupied East Jerusalem and Syrian residents of the Occupied Golan Heights.


              CLICK HERE to read Adalah’s letter of 21 February 2022


              CLICK HERE to read Mifal HaPais’s response letter


Mifal HaPais, in coordination with local authorities, has been awarding scholarships to students for higher education in the amount of NIS 10,000 (~ US $3100), whereby the registration process is carried out by local authorities. According to Mifal HaPais, in 2021, it awarded 38,000 scholarships. The grants were conditioned on having Israeli citizenship; only students with Israeli citizenship were eligible to receive the grant. This automatically excluded all students with permanent residency in Israel.


In its letters, Adalah argued that the criteria constituted unjustified discrimination based on nationality. Adalah further argued that the citizenship criterion also violates Israeli administrative law, which also requires the adoption of relevant, equitable and reasonable criteria. Moreover, the Students' Rights Law stipulates that the right to higher education is given equally to every citizen or resident of Israel.


In 2020, Mifal HaPais rejected Adalah’s claims of discrimination, refusing to revise its criteria. However, in 2021, it revised the criteria for eligibility to include Israeli citizens or permanent residents. The revised criteria were published on Mifal HaPais’s official website.


Adalah Attorney Nareman Shehadeh-Zoabi responded:


“The very purpose of the Mifal HaPais scholarships is to make higher education accessible to students from low socio-economic backgrounds, and the citizenship criterion excluded just these students, who statistically comprise a large part of this group.”


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