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October 30, 2014 / 6 Heshvan, 5775
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Lapid Tells Haredim ‘Go Work’ as Child Subsidy Cuts Go into Effect

Israel's social security administration objected to these cuts, arguing that they expect them to send some 35 thousand new children below the poverty line.
Haredi Israelis are under a three-pronged attack by Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who is introducing reforms at such a high speed they threaten to push many below the poverty line.

Haredi Israelis are under a three-pronged attack by Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who is introducing reforms at such a high speed they threaten to push many below the poverty line.
Photo Credit: Mendy Hechtman/POALEI MENAHEM/Flash90

On Tuesday, the severe cuts in government assistance to large families is going into effect, representing a new peak in Finance Minister Yauir Lapid’s war against the Haredim. What began as an election slogan, touting the need for an equal share in the national burden, is now policy, and as so many things political go, this one is hurting the weakest members of society.

Here’s the list of changes in the amounts paid to families—it is divided into children before and after 2003.

Families with children born before 2003 will receive $39 a month—down from $49—for the first child; $39 a month—down from $74—for the second child; $48 a month—down from $82—for the third child; $94 a month—down from $129—for the fourth child; and $99 a month—down from $109—for the fifth child and on.

The effect on a family of 10, which would be almost certainly religious (or Arab) is a 20% drop, from $988.00 to $814.00.

Israel’s social security administration objected to these cuts, arguing that they expect them to send some 35 thousand new children below the poverty line. In fact, they said the new cuts, sold as part of the “equal burden” package, will actually introduce a huge, new gap between rich and poor, as the percentage of poor children will rise from 4 to 40 percent.

In his Facebook message (today’s politician’s alternative to press conferences, where they might ask you embarrassing questions), Lapid said he was fulfilling one of his key promises to his voters. He also offered the following factoid, possibly something he read in a Maggie Thatcher interview:

“For years upon years it’s been proven that child allowances don’t get people out of poverty, they only make poverty permanent. Only one thing allows families exit the cycle of poverty – and that’s working.”

According to a 2011 report on poverty issued by the Israeli social security administration, 39.3% of Israeli families have been freed from the cycle of poverty due to receiving a variety of subsidies, including child allowances and income tax breaks, and the figure includes 15.1% of the children in Israel. The poverty line before government subsidies are paid out stands at $39.3%, and with the old subsidies dropped to 19.9%, which is still the highest poverty level among developed countries, and highest among all the OECD member countries…

For Haredi families, this severe cut in income comes coupled with a severe curtailing of funding for yeshivas and kolelim—by 30 percent this coming year, and by 60 percent the following year.

Four Haredi families are planning to sue the government in the Supreme Court over the cuts, which they say were made haphazardly and in a manner that does not befit proper legislation. A similar appeal was rejected a month ago by Justice Noam Solberg, on the ground that it was issued too early on in the legislative process. He urged the plaintiffs to come back once the bill becomes a law. Well, today it did.

Minister Lapid received a lot of praise when, during a duel with MKs from the Torah Judaism party, he said from the podium, in response to an accusation that his office was starving children:

“We will not allow any child in the State of Israel to go hungry. It’s our duty to make sure no child in Israel will be hungry, and we will honor it. But I want to remind [you], the institution responsible for caring for children is called their parents. When you bring a child into this world, [you] are the primary person responsible for it. Bringing a child into the world is a heavy responsibility, and so you should bring children into the world not based on the assumption that other people would care for them, but rather based on the assumption that it’s your obligation to take care of your own children.”

But that was many months ago. Today it has become clear that Minister Lapid—continuing his late father’s legacy of Haredi and religious hatred—has declared war on religious Jews in Israel. So far it’s been a three-pronged attack, hitting the issues of draft, child rearing in large families, and the education budget. Granted, in every one of these areas the Haredi public could do a lot to improve its relationship with the state and to create more goodwill between religious and secular in Israel. But to hit them with these three massive jabs all at once is not an act of repair but of destruction.


About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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5 Responses to “Lapid Tells Haredim ‘Go Work’ as Child Subsidy Cuts Go into Effect”

  1. Aldo Mimoun says:

    Right on. Those parasites will now understand that it is enough to pray. One should face his responsibilities toward his wife and children, and stop hiding behind Torah studies. Pirkey Avot states" The world rests on three pillars. On Torah, Work and good deeds". Let them follow these laws and all will be fine.

  2. Alan Kardon says:

    Simple rule, you have children you support them. Not fair to expect the rest of the country to pay for your life style. If you have a child with special needs that is a different situation.

  3. Whilst I sympathize with poverty, by all accounts the Haredi families really need to think about reducing the number of babies per family. Haredi citizens are as bright and ingenious as the rest of Israeli Citizens and now it is all hands to the decks. The young men are joining up, Haredi Mother's generally mind their children which is such a good thing, no one better for the health and welfare of a child than it's natural Mother. The elderly Haredi pray and watch over Israel's spiritual well being. As Mr. Kardon suggests a child with special needs is a special case. Israeli's are a tenacious and steadfast people, and her Haredi will survive but on less welfare money paid for many other tax payers, taxes must be shared by all.

  4. judytawil says:

    In today’s world , it is irresponsible to have more children than you can provide for,
    ether in the US or Israel. My husband and I came from families of 4 and 5 children
    but we had only two children bu choice and were able to provide them a debt free
    education thru college and graduate school. None of our siblings have more than
    3 children as well and now that we care grandparents, our  son and daughter
    each have 2 children only. The haredim need to realize the resentment that others
    feel towards having to support people who will not work and expect others to
    support them.
    Judith Tawil, Tampa,Florida

  5. cosmodinowitz42 says:

    The Haredi people should be made to take the place of people who want to serve Israel in their fight against the arab nations. Let the Haredi people work for the army in non combatant roles so the brave citizens who want to fight will be able to.

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