Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

15 Av 5766 - August 9, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Treasury to Reconsider Reduction of Income Support for Avreichim

by Betzalel Kahn

The Finance Ministry is planning to cut the budget for Income Support Benefit for avreichim by five percent as part of the government directives for a five percent across-the- board cut in the 2006 Budget. MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni has protested the plan to senior staff in the Finance Ministry, and has been promised that a decision will soon be reached as to whether to accede to his request and cancel the proposed cut.

The budget for Income Support Benefit was already reduced a year-and-a-half ago by eight percent, as part of an across- the-board cut in all government ministries. Following Rabbi Gafni's application to the Secretary General of the government and to senior Treasury officials, it has been decided to rescind the cut which discriminates against avreichim. In addition, a further three percent cut was cancelled, following a request on the part of Rabbi Gafni.

This year an across-the-board five percent cut in the budget of all government departments was agreed upon as part of the approval of the Annual State Budget in order to finance the coalition agreements which were signed with the formation of the government. Unbelievably, the Finance Ministry has also decided to cut the sum for Income Support Benefit from NIS 942 to less than NIS 900, beginning this month.

MK Rabbi Gafni turned to Finance Ministry Budget Supervisor Kobi Haber and his deputy Raviv Sobol, and warned them of the dire consequences of making cuts in Income Support Benefit since they are funds allocated to the families of extremely poor avreichim. Not only that, but there has been no decline in the Income Support Benefit in the Bituach Leumi (National Insurance Institute) while surpluses are available this fiscal year for those avreichim receiving Income Support Benefit from the Education Ministry.

Rabbi Gafni said that if the Treasury officials inform him that the cuts are still slated to take place, he will approach the Minister of Finance and explain the severity of the situation to him.

"It is absurd that cuts in income should be imposed on the very poorest families of avreichim at such a difficult time," says Rabbi Gafni. "Some of those avreichim are residents of the North, and how can people even think of making cuts at a time which is so difficult, both with regard to the security as well as the financial situation. It is hard for me to understand how Shas, who form part of the coalition, are allowing cuts like this to kolel families — the economically weakest families — including families who live in the North."


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