Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

8 Adar 5766 - March 8, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Welfare Ministry and Bituach Leumi Hail Negative Income Tax

By Y. Ariel

Rabbi Ravitz and Bituach Leumi Director Dr. Yigal Ben Shalom inaugurated new Bituach Leumi branches in Natzeret and Natzeret Illit that will serve half a million Jews and Arabs. Earlier Rabbi Ravitz conducted a working tour of Natzeret Illit. "I am proud of my part in the setup and operation of the Shuvu School, of its educators and of its students," Mayor Menachem Ariev told him.

At the inauguration ceremony for the two Bituach Leumi branches, held in Natzeret with hundreds of residents on hand, Rabbi Ravitz said, "Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's announcement that the government would adopt the recommendation to institute a negative income tax for low income earners is one of the Welfare Ministry's and Bituach Leumi's biggest achievements. Now our next goal stands before us: restoring Child Allowances to their original formulation. I again call on the government not to allow large families to collapse."

During the course of the day, the Deputy Minister toured welfare institutions in Natzeret Illit. The visit began with a working meeting at the municipality's plenum hall. The host, Menachem Ariev, who has been serving as mayor for 29 years, opened by tracing the city's founding and surveying the municipality's activities. Ariev said he was proud of the social fabric that makes up the city and, "I am particularly proud of our part in the setup and operation of the Shuvu school, which numbers 300 students." Rabbi Ravitz said welfare matters are handled well in Natzeret Illit by the local bureau and its heads.

On a personal note Rabbi Ravitz said he was touched by the Mayor's help in developing Shuvu. "I had the merit to be among the founders of the chain while I was chairman of the Finance Committee and later went on a huge fundraising campaign abroad. This is a tremendous Torah study program at a very high level and the future remains open before us." At the end of the meeting the Mayor took the Deputy Minister on a tour of the city's various welfare institutions.

One week earlier, Rabbi Ravitz visited Carmiel, including an inauguration ceremony for facilities at Keren Ora institutions for special education, and affixed a mezuzoh at the neighborhood youth center. During the tour Rabbi Ravitz praised Carmiel Mayor Adi Eldar, saying, "Carmiel is an excellent example of how a city should be run. I came here primarily to learn from this city and to make it into an exemplary city for others to learn from."

Mayor Eldar described the many activities his city sponsors, including activities that benefit the local chareidi community. "I relate to the community's needs with equality because I believe here everyone can live together at a high standard of living and in peace," he said. Rabbi Ravitz promised to provide substantially increased funding for work rehabilitation programs for the handicapped, a center for the elderly and other programs.

Later Rabbi Ravitz was given the honor of fixing a mezuzoh on the doorpost of a special kitchen at Machon Orot of Carmiel, a regional Torah-based institution for children with learning disabilities run by Keren Ora Institutions under the rov of Carmiel, HaRav Avrohom Tzvi Margalit. Dozens of students study and receive therapy suited to their level of learning and in accordance with Jewish tradition. In the kitchen they learn important fundamentals of home economics and living skills that will allow them to build Torah-true homes and even learn a trade.

Rabbi Ravitz was received by the moro de'asra HaRav Margalit, UTJ City Councilman Rabbi Dovid Lugassi, Director Rabbi Pinchos Siroka, the manager of the Bureau for Public Inquiries, Rabbi Yisroel Lichtenstein, and the manager of educational projects sponsored by the Wolfson Foundation, Rabbi Shimon Kurlansky.

Rabbi Ravitz promised to make a recommendation to Bituach Leumi's Foundation for Handicapped Services to build a carpentry shop there. The Mayor pledged to help build a proper school to replace the converted industrial building currently being used. Rabbi Ravitz then went to a meeting with youths at the Keren Ora neighborhood youth club, which serves in the evening as a beis medrash for local youths drawing closer to Judaism. He spoke with the young residents and affixed a mezuzoh at the entrance to the beis medrash.

At the end of the tour all of the city's avreichim gathered at Beis Medrash Ohel Chaya, the city's first beis medrash and the home of a kollel for 80 avreichim which HaRav Margalit started upon his arrival in Carmiel. "We are currently in one of the critical stages of Torah and Jewish life in Eretz Yisroel," said Rabbi Ravitz, "and I call upon each and every one of you to take an active role in this campaign."


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