Nir Barkat 311 (do not publish again).
(photo credit: Flash 90)
A veteran municipal social worker was scheduled to intervene this week in the
case of an elderly woman whose husband was denying her the in-home care she
needed. However, because of the social workers’ strike that began on Sunday, she
had to cancel the intervention.
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“The way we’re working now, it’s gotten
to the point that [going on strike] is the only way for us to get [the patients]
something better,” said the social worker, who spoke to The Jerusalem Post on
condition of anonymity and is responsible for all the elderly residents in her
In the case mentioned above, she was supposed to confront the
husband, who may also have been emotionally abusing his wife, along with one of
her colleagues, a doctor.
Her elderly patients require a lot of
attention, and she tries not to say “no” to requests for follow-up visits after
the two required per patient by law. In order to see as many as possible, she
schedules visits – for which she is not paid – but can only afford to allot five
to 10 minutes for each.
“There was one person who said to me before the
strike that his wife was deteriorating badly, and I said I wouldn’t have time,”
she said. “I had to say ‘no,’ and it was very hard for me.”
In order to
save money on day care for her children, she works until 1 p.m. and then goes
back to work from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., taking a salary cut in the
“If you have more than a child or two, it doesn’t pay to go to
work fulltime because the money I’d earn would [only] pay for my two children in
day care after 1:30 [p.m.]; the salary is not logical,” she said.
Ozick, a graduate student at the University of Haifa who holds a social work
internship at Lady Davis Carmel Medical Center, expressed similar
“The salary is abysmal compared to the work; they don’t
match,” she said.
Ozick may have to cancel her weekly therapy sessions
with multiple sclerosis patients due to the strike. The sessions usually occur
at the beginning of the week, but Ozick has rescheduled them for Wednesday or
Thursday, hoping the strike will be over by then.
The strike has not had
a major impact on services received by Anglo immigrants, according to various
organizations which assist them.
Nefesh B’Nefesh, for example, which
works with the Jewish Agency for Israel to help Jews from North America and the
UK make aliya, has employees who sometimes act as social workers by helping new
olim find jobs and checking in with them on a monthly basis. However, it does
not employ social workers.
Social workers employed by Telfed, the South
African Zionist Federation (Israel), which serves the needs of South African
olim, are not on strike because they come from the private sector.
sympathize with their coworkers in other sectors, but our social workers didn’t
have a need to strike,” said Dorron Kline, the Ra’anana-based organization’s
Meanwhile, social services in south Tel Aviv for
asylum-seekers and migrant workers from Sudan, Eritrea and other countries have
also been frozen. The Mesila Aid and Information Center for the Foreign
Community, an organization run by the Tel Aviv- Jaffa Municipality, is currently
only operating with volunteers.
“For [the refugees], it’s very bad,
because there are no social workers over here, and many of them need our help,”
said Leo Pechtet, a Mesila volunteer. “They come here and they have meetings
with social workers who give them tips on how to manage in Israel – how to find
work, how to get a visa, how to survive.”
A sign on the center’s front
door states that it will remain closed until the strike ends.
them still come in, but we can’t do anything,” said Pechtet. “We can try to help
them, but social workers can do more because they know how the system works.”