Cuts in child stipends cause heated reactions

Head of the Association of Social Workers, Safra Dweck said that the Ministry of Finance’s plans are “cruel.”

CHILDREN AT the Jordan River Village 370 (photo credit: Jordan River Village)
CHILDREN AT the Jordan River Village 370
(photo credit: Jordan River Village)
“It looks as though somebody in the Israeli government has decided to go after children and families with children,” Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, chairman of the National Council for the Child, said in a statement to Reshet Bet on Tuesday as the Treasury’s draft budget revealed an intention to cut child allotments.
According to the proposal, income tax will be raised by 1.5 percent as of 2014, value-added tax will rise from 17% to 18% and corporate tax and taxes on cigarettes and alcohol will also increase. Child allotments will be reduced to NIS 140 a month.
“If the government does not like children, it should say so explicitly and stop dropping hints. It’s focusing on budget cuts for children, including the poorest children, the most hurt children, the neediest children,” Kadman continued.
He also added that the Treasury’s proposal is “a recipe for social suicide” and advised the government to “search for the money in the areas where they lost it and not in the easiest place to put their hands on.”
In a second interview with Reshet Bet on Tuesday, Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef – who heads the National Insurance Institute, which distributes the child stipends – said that the changes in the government budget “impact the weaker population in Israel.”
“It is a population that does not have a voice and is not officially represented,” he said. “And with these moves, we may be introducing tens of thousands of families to the world of poverty.”
Safra Dweck, head of the Association of Social Workers, said that the Finance Ministry’s plans are cruel and that the disadvantaged and middle class will not be able to deal with the changes.
These, she said, will directly harm society’s disadvantaged and a large portion of the working public who already has difficulty supporting itself.
“Welfare services are already outrageously underfunded,” Dweck stated.
“This is expressed in the lack of tools and resources to provide services to populations that rely on social services.”
“The burden on social services is enormous,” she continued. “The burden on the shoulders of social workers is intolerable and may grow further, following the new budget.”
“Treasury officials should accompany social workers for one working day to meet the hardships and the lack of solutions available to us and see for themselves that people are not numbers and that the welfare benefits cannot be cut even by NIS 1,” Dweck concluded.