Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg, whose bill to “criminalize kiruv” raised widespread ire, now proposed a new outrageous bill that again targets religion.
Zandberg, who is slated to become part of the new unity government being sworn in on Sunday, proposed that Chareidim who go off the derech be provided with “absorption benefits” – the same financial support that new immigrants are entitled to.
The explanatory memorandum to the proposal states: “Support for those who go off the derech is unofficial, limited, and carried out on a private basis, without any support from the State. Furthermore, Israeli law does not define criteria, in its regulations or procedures, for those who go off the derech.”
“Going off the derech is a personal and complex process, during which and afterward, many suffer from gaps in formal education, lack of money and possessions, and mental and social difficulties. The State doesn’t provide any dedicated assistance for those who go off the derech. This situation is mainly a result of the lack of official recognition of their status and effectively deprives them of the means for social advancement which the State provides to other populations, such as the immigrant population.”
The memo continues to describe in further detail about the difficult situation that those who go off the derech face, such as a lack of a place to live since “most can’t continue living at home and definitely not in the yeshivah where they learned,” which leads to them starting their path “in the secular world” amid a “financial crisis.”
The memo concludes by recommending that the State provide financial assistance to those who go off the derech “to enable optimal acclimatization” to their new lifestyle.
It should be noted that a bill to assist struggling youth or young adults may seem helpful but assisting youth to further distance themselves from their families and communities rather than heal broken relationships is providing a disservice.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)