'Fewer east J'lem residents take advantage of social benefits'

Fewer east Jlem reside

East Jerusalem residents avail themselves of social services less than others living in the capital, a study released on Tuesday by the Jerusalem-based Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel shows. The study, part of a new book titled Access to Social Justice in Israel, also reported use of rights for children and the elderly was especially low in this group. According to the researchers, only 86 percent of east Jerusalem children up to age 14 receive monthly child allotments from the National Insurance Institute, compared to 95% in Israel as a whole. Among elderly men, only 75% of those who live in east Jerusalem receive the same benefits that nearly 100% of Israelis of the same age group in other parts of the country receive, the study adds. The study, conducted by professors Johnny Gal, Mimi Eisenshtadt and Michael Shilo, also shows that while the level of children and elderly residents of east Jerusalem who do receive benefits is high overall, there are still many who do not receive those afforded to them by law. "Basically, this study, and the others found in the book, are meant to show that it's not enough to have good public institutions," Gal told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. "The institutions have to be accompanied by the realization of the rights and benefits they are offering." Access to Social Justice in Israel, which was edited by Gal and Eisenshtadt and will have a formal launching at the Taub Center on Wednesday evening, outlines the broad extent of the accessibility of social rights in Israel, and includes new studies in the fields of law, civics and sociology. Contributors to the book report their findings in the book from research conducted over the past three years. "Many of the studies examine to what degree people are realizing their rights and why some population groups do not utilize their rights as much as others," Gal explained. "Sometimes it has to do with bureaucracy, or not enough information, but other times, it can be based in a sense of humiliation for having to ask for such benefits." Regardless, Gal added, the book's main goal was to examine the various programs that do exist to meet people's needs - be they legal or financial, etc. - and then to research why those needs are met in some places, and less so in others.