The Jerusalem District Court ruled on Wednesday that a NIS 700 mil food-aid tender meant to help families across the country could not be handed over to Shufersal following an appeal by the NGO Pitchon Lev which argued the supermarket chain presented false data. The NGO argued that the supermarket chain never meant to create a food-card program that would include other food stores and intended all those who benefit from it to shop at Shufersal, excluding other food-store owners. The ruling was that the Interior Ministry will now need to re-examine to whom the tender should be awarded. Earlier on Wednesday the mayors of Jerusalem, Lod, Bat Yam and Acre, among others, turned to the Jerusalem District Court requesting it allow the NIS 700 mil food delivery operation to carry out as planned, KAN News reported.The financial hardships experienced by many families during the COVID-19 pandemic were cited as the reason of the unusual request.
The Interior Ministry selected Shufersal over the NGO Pitchon Lev to carry out the complex operation based on the chain claiming it has 1627 places it could offer food from compared to the 779 the NGO has. The NGO turned to court, claiming the data is false, which led to the court deciding to halt the operation before the current ruling, which obligated the ministry to resume its decision making process.
Israeli media reported that poverty experts pointed out that food aid is usually under the Welfare Ministry, leading some to consider that the Interior Ministry means to offer further aid to ultra-Orthodox Jewish families using this mechanism.