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Photo by: Benny Goldstein
Calcala Party founder was deadbeat dad
By LAHAV HARKOV
01/11/2013
Benny Goldstein was fugitive from the law, spent 10 days in jail for not paying child support.
 
Anyone who had not heard of the Calcala Party was introduced to the new list running for the next Knesset by its campaign ad, which featured a man living in a bus because he became impoverished due to high child support payments.

What the ad did not reveal, however, is that Calcala co-founder Benny Goldstein was a fugitive from the law after a warrant was issued for his arrest following his failure to pay child support to his ex-wife. Goldstein eventually spent 10 days in prison.

Following an inquiry from The Jerusalem Post about his jail time, Goldstein claimed that the experience was his inspiration for founding the Calcala Party, but he hid the story as he felt it was bad publicity.

When asked how he could afford a political campaign but not child support payments for his three children, Goldstein said that his brother, Calcala co-founder Daniel Goldstein, raised funds in America.

According to Goldstein, he was required to pay about NIS 9,600 in child support per month, and was jailed because he could not pay for the portion that went to afternoon daycare and after-school activities.

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“I committed to more than I could give, because I wanted to help my kids, but the minute I signed the contract, I was screwed,” Goldstein stated.

A source close to the family said that Goldstein did not visit his children for months, but does so more often after a deal was struck between him and his ex-wife several months ago. His brother Daniel has left his family in America while he pursues his political ambitions.

Goldstein said the reason he did not visit his children was not because he did not want to, but rather because whenever he would, the police would arrive and arrest him for not paying child support.

The first time the Calcala founder was arrested, there was no room for him to sleep in the prison, and he was released. After that, he hid from the police, but was eventually sent to prison for 10 days.

After speaking with other divorced fathers in prison, Goldstein came to the conclusion that there is a problem with the divorce process in Israel.

“I’m upset at the system, not at my wife. The government made my divorce horrible and very difficult. It’s impossible [for divorced fathers] to make ends meet,” he said.

“Going to prison made me stronger and made me want to change the system.”

Calcala Party leader Yulia Shamolov Berkovich, a Kadima MK that ran in the Likud primary but received an unrealistic slot, said that she hopes to pass a law that will end gender discrimination against divorced men. The law would include allowing joint custody of babies and toddlers and protection against false complaints about “normative” fathers.

Goldstein also mentioned other parts of Calcala’s platform.

The party, whose name means “economy,” proposes a weekly salary and weekly mortgage payments, which, according to Goldstein, would shorten mortgages by seven years.
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