The chareidi public is furious over the Finance Ministry's
plan to deepen the erosion of Children's Allowances. Recently
essential components of the 2006 budget and details of the
new decrees to be imposed on the public as part of efforts to
cut government spending were provided.
One of the most prominent decrees is a further cut in
Children's Allowances after two years of reductions under the
new economic program. Over the next four years children's
Allowances will not be tied to the Consumer Price Index,
meaning they will remain frozen at their already low levels.
This measure, which would save the Treasury NIS 550 million
annually, is a harsh blow to large families.
In the 2003 fiscal year the government decided to gradually
level the allowance paid for each child, eventually bringing
the children's allowance down to NIS 144 per child regardless
of the size of the family.
The linkage arrangement set in the National Insurance Law was
changed. As of January 2006 the benefits will be updated
according to the rate of increase in the CPI. Yet now, in
order to reduce public spending on Children's Allowances the
Finance Ministry has proposed the government extend the
temporary directive regarding Children's Allowances until
December 31, 2009 and determine that from the beginning of
2006 until the end of 2009 Children's Allowances will not be
updated according to the rate of increase in the CPI.
In addition on January 1, 2006 the scheduled increase in
Children's Allowances from NIS 120 to NIS 144 will not take
In reaction Deputy Welfare Minister Rabbi Avrohom Ravitz said
the weaker strata continue to pay the price of the Finance
Ministry's failed economic program.
MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni sent a vituperative letter to Netanyahu
reading: "I was surprised to hear about your plans for the
2006 budget, including continued harm to the weak strata, the
cutting the allowance for the first and second child and
making this cut permanent and not updating Children's
Allowances for the next four years—i.e. a further cut
in the cut already scheduled to take effect during these
"I cannot understand where you derive the effrontery and
chutzpah to strike another blow at children beyond those
thousands you have brought below the poverty line. [It seems]
you will not rest until you succeed in harming children and
families more and more, with the exception of the
economically established [segments of society], which you
nurture and make rich.
"Yet I lack the powers of insight to comprehend [your
intentions], for beyond the ingratitude toward these families
who supported you throughout the years, all of these
decisions are not in your hands to decide but must pass the
legislative process in the Knesset and the Finance Committee
and I cannot see any possibility or the slightest chance of
you being able to pass this wicked plan in the Finance
Committee and in the Knesset plenum."