Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

18 Kislev 5765 - December 1, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
The Truth About Poverty: Bnei Brak Works and the NRP Cuts

To the Editor:

With regard to the proposal presented to Knesset Chairman Mr. Reuven Rivlin to summon the Knesset members and to hold a discussion on the poverty report specifically in Bnei Brak, the city defined as the "most impoverished," I would like to make two comments as follows:

1. A survey was held on the rate of employment in Bnei Brak which shows that every household in the city (excluding the elderly) has [on the average] one-and-a-third people working.

Based on this fact any sensible person can see that the increasing poverty there, which is reaching record levels, is not because of false claims the Finance Ministry lodges morning and night about "the lack of integration in the work force," but rather that the reasons are to be found in the inferior economic state and the low wage level of workers who find it difficult to bring bread home to their children [after] the policy of cuts in allowances by the NRP-Shinui- Likud government directly harmed hundreds of thousands of families and gained notoriety.

Former [Bituach Leumi] Director-General Prof. Yochanan Shtessman even took the unprecedented step of resigning from his post.

2. The former Welfare Minister is currently unashamed to raise an outcry and proclaim while the NRP was in the government it stanched the gap and prevented large cuts in allowances.

The public should recall and know that the NRP was among the partners and initiators of the bill to cut children's allowances, which was tabled under the headline, "An equal allowance for every child." This bill, which unfortunately passed, was also submitted by an MK from Shinui. The primary focus was to give two allowance points for every child, with no consideration for the number of children and the size of the family.

The explanatory material for the bill stated in part that the cost of maintaining an additional child is less than the first and second children, and therefore it was proposed that all children receive an identical allowance.

This is Bituach Leumi Bill P/3687 (Children's Allowance Amendment) of 5762/2002, which was submitted by MKs Yigal Bibi, Zevulun Orlev, Nachum Langental and Shaul Yahalom. A similar bill was tabled in the Knesset on 24 Iyar 5762 (5-6- 2002).

With blessings,

Nosson Greenberg

Former Deputy Director, Bituach Leumi

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