Reducing child allotments was the topic of furious debate in the Knesset last Sunday. The end-of-year Financial Budget is on the table and proposes a blanket reduction of monthly child support from NIS175 to NIS140 (about $37 US). All parents receive this child support grant through the National Insurance Institute of Israel, for children under the age of 18.
According to current statistics, one in three Israeli children now lives below the poverty line. Estimates show that the proposed child allotment cuts will plunge 50,000 more children below this line, also significantly increasing the at-risk child population.
The Finance Ministry's intention behind the proposed child support reduction is to encourage both parents to work. As the sociocultural milieu is so nurturing for young people, Israel is probably the only country in the world where a mother working would not detrimentally affect small children's upbringing and emotional welfare. However, work is not readily available in many areas of the country, and preschool childcare can be expensive, cancelling out the financial advantage of two salaries in the home. Also, mothers who want large families are not physically able to work during childbearing years; or they place a burden on the workplace to finance maternity leave.
The Knesset Finance Committee has been unable to reach a vote on the matter, as there must be certainty that the new policy will not sharply increase already existing child poverty. Already these disadvantaged children make up one third of Israel's future. Intervention is needed now. As an Israel Today reader, you can make a difference for a contribution of just $15. Click here *AND all this summer, Israel Today will match your donation - together we can overcome the poverty statistics of families with children!