Kids in picture (370).
(photo credit: (Netanya Foundation/courtesy)
Budget cuts in child allotments will lead to a substantial increase in the
number of children below the poverty line, the Council for the Child wrote in a
statement on Tuesday.
The statement followed rumors about cutbacks in the
allotments that spread after Finance Minister Yair Lapid posted a message on
Facebook about the need for budget cuts, and a key opposition MK
In the post, Lapid promised that solving the country’s
budgetary problems, though painful at first, would ultimately benefit the middle
class. In response, MK Isaac Herzog, chairman of Labor’s Knesset faction,
accused the finance minister of over-estimating middle class incomes, adding
that Lapid will take away the child allotments, which help balance middle-class
Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, executive director of the Council for the
Child, explained that cutting the allowances, paid monthly to Israeli families
by the National Insurance Institute, would also cause “a drastic deterioration
in the situation of children already living below the poverty line, and also
severely harm children in families where parents work and are
In a letter explaining the purpose of the allowances, Kadman
stated that they are “not a free gift, but a minimal expression of
consideration” for the cost of raising families.
“There is no country in
the Western world where a fine is imposed on raising children,” he wrote. “There
is no country in the Western world in which family size is not addressed
financially at all income levels.”
Kadman added that child stipends in
most Western nations were increasing significantly compared to the level in
Israel, even before expected budget cuts.
“It is clear that the higher
the parents’ education, especially the mother’s, the more birth rates diminish
for all sectors of society,” he wrote as his closing argument. “So maybe instead
of reducing child benefits, [the Treasury] should invest more in
Ran Melamed, deputy director of YEDID, an Israeli NGO that
promotes social and economic justice, also reacted to the rumors.
always forget to look at the big picture,” Melamed wrote in a letter published
on Monday evening. “We deal with our daily survival rather than thinking about
He stressed the importance of “saving for our children” in
order to enable them to have a “worthy starting point when they leave home at
the age of 18 or 21.”
According to Melamed, 57 percent of Israel’s
families claim they are not saving money at all for their children.