Calcala co-founder Benny Goldstein 370.
(photo credit: Benny Goldstein)
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
“Going to prison made me stronger and made me want to change the
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.
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.