I was at the Knesset yesterday. There was a meeting regarding קצבת ילדים, the small amount of money that parents receive to care for their children. Working at Yad Eliezer and having many friends who are single moms, I know that that money makes a huge difference. It is bread, tuition- survival. And the finance minister thinks that getting rid of it is the key to fixing Israel’s economy.
At the meeting I heard a single mother share the story of her struggle, working a full day to bring home 4500 shekels a month which with to support herself and three children. I heard from the owner of a makolet who said that kids steal bread to assuage their hunger. I heard from a social worker who is the head of the social workers union that the system is broken, good people become social workers with the desire to help, but get burned out very quickly when it becomes clear that the system does not give them the means to really help anyone. Nobody can handle a caseload of 200-300 families a week with no means to provide practical support. I heard from an Arab grandmother who is raising children and grandchildren and has very real fears of how she will manage without these funds. And from a mother who works full time, as does her husband, yet they still end every month deeply in the red.
But what most broke my heart was who I didn’t hear from. There was not a single Knesset member from the coalition who attended. Hungry children will starve. Poor children will go hungry. And not a single MK cared enough to even grace the meeting with their presence. One would assume that a meeting dealing with poverty in Israel would find its way into the calendar of the finance minister. But it did not.
MKs from the opposition did attend, including Aryeh Deri. They would like to be able to promise that sufficient funds will be available for children, but they can’t. They turned to us, the parents working 8-13 hours a day to go out in the streets and protest. We who work long days and have very limited resources need to do what our government won’t do in order that kids will have what to eat. To be honest it was simply heartbreaking. What have we come to? Israel, a light to the nations. Dear L-rd.
Shalvi Weissman – Jerusalem.
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