In a comparative study with 15 European countries, Bituach
Leumi found that Israel ranks second to last in terms of
support for children, MK Rabbi Avrohom Ravitz told a Knesset
plenum on Monday as he submitted a no-confidence motion
together with NRP-HaIchud HaLeumi in reaction to the poverty
affecting many segments of the population.
The no-confidence motion was voted down by a majority of 52
coalition members against 35 opposition members. The
coalition also rejected four other no-confidence motions
submitted by opposition parties as Kassam missiles rain down
Rabbi Ravitz said that he had heard during Olmert's visit to
France that the Prime Minister called on French Jews to send
their children to Israel. "Look at what the French government
does for its children, some of whom are immigrants from
eastern countries and various other places. They are not
native French, but there is no discrimination. The French
government, with the exception of the first child for whom
they give nothing, gives three and four and five times what
we give [in child support]."
He said in Italy and Germany as well, the government provides
generously for every child, including children in large
families. "In these countries they value large families; only
here children are not suitably provided for. You can also
make comparisons with Austria, Ireland, Belgium, Britain,
Denmark, Holland and Luxembourg. These are the best places
for children to live. If someone with a large family wants to
leave Eretz Yisroel he should go to Luxembourg, Spain,
Finland, France or Sweden. In other countries they know how
to view children.
"In Israel some children a year old and younger already
suffer from hunger. They don't know what it is that they are
suffering from, but they are suffering because of their
parents' poverty. And our society does not provide them the
assistance they need, particularly if they are in a chareidi
family in which case they definitely are not helped and are
even discriminated against. Why are we doing the opposite of
what the rest of the Western world does? Because Poraz [of
Shinui] drove everyone crazy with his ideas and we bought the
goods he was selling and continue to do so to this very
Likud Chairman MK Binyamin Netanyahu, who presented the no-
confidence motion for his party over the lack of security in
Sderot, said he has no doubt that if the Kassam missiles were
aimed at Jerusalem or the Dan Region a big outcry would be
heard and the government's reaction would be very different.
"But because residents of Sderot and the Negev communities
are being fired at, the matter is being handled as if they
were shooting at places outside of Israel. As if Sderot is
not a part of the State of Israel."
Netanyahu also criticized Olmert for not even speaking with
Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal last week, even when Moyal passed by
him in the Knesset.
Minister Yaakov Edri, who responded in the name of the
government, acknowledged that the poverty figures in Israel
were very severe but said that the current government has the
will and the intention to address poverty and has to be given
some time. As proof he cited the fact for the first time the
2006 budget did not make any cuts in the budgets for social
ministries, i.e. the Internal Affairs Ministry, the Education
Ministry, the Welfare Ministry and the Health Ministry. "And
I believe next year we will see a change for the better.
Budget increases will be provided and the turnaround will
happen. Because in a short period of time it is impossible to
change things and close gaps. But over time I believe we will
feel the differences."
On the issue of security he said, "There are no [simple
solutions] or tricks to stop Kassams. And whoever doesn't say
this isn't telling the truth."