Budget lavishes on sport, skimps on welfare

The Kfar Saba city council last week unanimously approved the most "scandalous" and unequal support budget in its history, reports www.local.co.il. Despite councilors making speeches about the need to fund welfare properly, they still voted unanimously for a budget that provides millions of shekels for sporting and cultural organizations while giving paltry thousands to charitable organizations. According to the report, in their speeches the city councilors spoke about their public and moral responsibilities, and related "painful" stories of seeing hundreds of unemployed people waiting in line to receive unemployment benefits. But when it came time to vote on the budget, they unanimously voted in favor of what the report described as "the most scandalous support budget since the founding of Kfar Saba," and one "unprecedented in its inequality." The report said that in the area of sport, the budget provides: NIS 480,000 for the Yarok Oleh soccer club; NIS 407,385 for the Hapoel volleyball club; NIS 383,750 for the Hapoel basketball club; NIS 193,000 for the Beitar soccer club; NIS 122,757 for the Hapoel fencing club; NIS 105,915 for the Hapoel Aliya soccer club; and sums ranging from NIS 10,000 to NIS 100,000 for other sports clubs, including taekwondo, rhythmic gymnastics, tennis, table tennis, chess and target-shooting. There is also NIS 100,000 for an "achievement fund" for outstanding sportspeople. In addition to the sporting organizations, there is NIS 700,000 for a music fund, NIS 200,000 more than last year. But in the welfare field, the budget provides just NIS 9,450 for each of three non-profit organizations (the Meloh Hateneh and Hazen Et Hakol food distribution organizations, and the Lions' Club), and just NIS 4,725 for each of 10 others, among them Yad Sarah (assistance to the sick), Eran (emergency telephone counseling), Ilan (assistance for disabled children), Push (educational assistance), Ezer Mizion (health assistance), the Center for Assistance to Victims of Sexual Assault, and others. A spokesman for the Meloh Hateneh organization said that funds and donations were being reduced while need for the services provided by his and a similar organization was growing. He said that Meloh Hateneh had distributed food baskets to 150 families for Passover last year, and this year it would distribute baskets to 200 families. He said the organization had told the city it could not accept any more families. No comment was reported from the city.