Gov't slammed over working mothers bill

MKs, women rights groups criticize state for refusing to recognize childcare as tax-deductible expense.

tzipi hotovely 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
tzipi hotovely 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
MKs and women's organizations criticized the government on Sunday for approving a Treasury proposal that calls for a partial tax credit for working mothers and opposes a High Court ruling on the issue. In April, the High Court of Justice ruled that child care costs should be recognized as a tax-deducible work-related expense, and rejected the state's appeal to a district court on the issue. However, 19 cabinet members on Sunday voted in favor of a bill proposed by Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, according to which the state would give working mothers one point of tax credit for every child below the age of five, but not recognize child care expenses as tax deductible. Three ministers opposed the proposal, which still must be approved by the Knesset to become law. MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), chairwoman of the Knesset Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women, rejected the cabinet decision. "An automatic majority of men in the government will not stop the revolution that the High Court declared," she said in a statement on Sunday afternoon. "I intend to convene my committee this week to advance legislation in which MKs from all the factions will participate, in order to turn the revolution declared by the court into official and binding law," Hotovely said. Na'amat (The Movement of Working Women and Volunteers) Chairwoman Talia Livni also criticized the decision to accept Steinitz's proposal, calling it "humiliating and embarrassing." Livni called on the Knesset not to approve the bill and vowed to work to convince the lawmakers to "save the government from the insult that it has brought upon itself." The women's rights lobby slammed the proposal, saying it was only a partial solution to the problem, and disregarded the mothers' needs. Rebecca Anna Stoil contributed to this report