Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Knesset
Labor Committee Chairman MK Haim Katz (Likud) at the Nov. 23, 2020 meeting.

A joint committee of the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee and the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday approved a directive that provides a one-time grant of NIS 13,000 ($3,800) to Haredi individuals who perform National-Civil Service and were placed on unpaid leave or were dismissed from their jobs due to the corona crisis.

Many of these individuals have families and are not eligible for unemployment benefits as volunteers in the National-Civil Service.

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Labor Committee Chairman MK Haim Katz (Likud), who heads the joint committee as well, said, “We have been pushing and following this issue for a while now. We demanded grants for Haredim (who perform National-Civil Service) and also for soldiers with work permits, who for months now have not had any income or assistance from the state. Today we are deciding not to delay one for the other, but we will continue to press and fight for a solution for the soldiers as well.”

During the meeting it was revealed that other citizens who perform National-Civil Service, including more than 5,000 Arabs, will not be eligible for the grant. Addressing this group, MK Katz said, “We want to encourage, reward and bolster all those who serve, so we will fight for a solution for them as well.”

A Haredi individual in the National Service program who is married with children and worked for 2-3 months before losing his job will receive a grant of NIS 6,000 ($1,780).

A Haredi individual in the National Service program who is married with children and worked for 4-5 months before losing his job will receive a grant of NIS 9,900 ($2,965).

A Haredi individual in the National Service program who is married with children and worked for more than 6 months before losing his job will receive a grant of NIS 13,200 ($3,954).

Reuven Pinsky, Director General of the National Civil Service Authority, said, “The grant is meant to help Haredim (in the National Civil Service Authority) who have encountered difficulties due to the corona crisis.”

MK Moshe Abutbul (Shas), who placed the issue on the committee’s agenda, praised the joint committee for approving the directive.

MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid-Telem) protested the fact that the directive does not include soldiers with work permits. “For Haredim in National Service, a work permit is ‘built-in,’ while a soldier [who requests a permit to work] is required to go through a special inspection that proves that his economic situation is not good, and yet [these soldiers are not] getting a grant,” MK Stern said. “There are also Haredi soldiers who have work permits and are not receiving the grant… We must care for the soldiers. They do not have [working for them] the pressure that the Haredi parties apply on the Government.”

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.