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0202 – Points of View from Jerusalem


"Remember the raging debate about disability benefits? [1] With the phony, violent, parasitic handicapped people? So yesterday, I had a chance to take a closer look and see what it’s really like.

A couple from Jerusalem. They’ve worked hard for many years, raised six children, and, at some point they got sick, very sick. Heart attacks, diabetes, may God help us. They receive 4300 shekels [per month], combined, from the government. Of that, 1500 shekels is spent on medicine, 200 shekels on health insurance, 230 shekels to pay rent in public housing, another 200 shekels on the electricity bill… and I don’t know how much the water and gas bills come out to.

That leaves about 2000 shekels for food, bus fares in order to visit the grandchildren, etc. Despite the 2500 shekels to pay for the water heater that blew up last month and had to be replaced, [2000 shekels is all that's left] for life itself. The electric company installed a pre-pay system to make sure they don't end up in debt. When they reach the last few shekels, they don’t turn on the heating so that the lights don’t turn off.

Their children try to help, but they have children of their own and their own nearly-impossible monthly struggle to make ends meet. One of the daughters works as a cleaner. She tries to also buy groceries for her parents. But if she gets sick, even with the flu, she doesn’t get her salary. Then, she can’t buy anything for herself or for them. This is dead-end poverty; just the type of poverty for which the safety net of a welfare-providing state was invented.

These people don’t have a community that will take care of them. They don’t live in a communal village, or belong to a synagogue. They live in a small apartment in the middle of a city, and are struggling just to survive.
Thank God that Israel has social security, welfare, public housing, and socialized healthcare.

Next time you 'like' [on facebook] devout capitalists of the religio-successful kind, supported by American foundations that explain why any 'interference' by the state is negative, please explain to me how this couple is supposed to live. And when you sit in your heated homes, make sure you say your many thanks to God that you are fortunate and healthy.

The photo below shows the results of a survey revealing interesting information about citizens' positions on economic issues, divided according to who they voted for. It’s interesting that the most pro-socialism people vote for ‘HaBa’it HaYehudi’ [2] and the most pro-capitalism people voted for Kahlon [3].
It’s gladdens me to that the religio-successful devout capitalists still have a lot of work to do with the [Religious-Zionist] sector. "

– Tehila Friedman, West Jerusalem Activist

[Selected comments:]
-"What a sad story. There’s a big difference between helping the sick and the elderly, and governmental interference in things like television and radio content, wage limitations and other such policies which originate from socialism that prevent progress and have driven countries into bankruptcy."
– "What does them being socialists do, if at the end they vote for ‘HaBa’it Hayehudi’ party [that isn’t socialist]?"

-"Just the opposite, Tehila. Social security is in a frightening deficit, and is going to run out of money by 2045. This fact frightens me exactly because I don’t want to live in a state without social security. But the way to protect the elderly, the disabled, and those that require nursing care is by being very careful with the budget. Benefits shouldn’t be increased if there’s no budget for it. [the government] shouldn’t surrender money unnecessarily to Teva’s fired employees, or to the electric company’s employees. Don’t give benefits for children that mainly fund the Haredi public who by choice work less and pay less taxes. Don’t pay almost one billion shekels each year to the public broadcasting service."

0202 Editor’s Notes:
[1] There is an on-going debate about the amount which the disabled receive in benefits from the social security. There have recently been many protests by the handicapped population to challenge this issue.
[2] ‘HaBa’it HaYehudi’ party – a national party primarily representing the Religious Zionist sector.
[3] Moshe Kahlon – Israel's Finance Minister and head of the Kulanu party that campaigned as a center-right, socialist party.

To read more on this topic, see: https://goo.gl/PaaNXv

#Disability_Benefits #Economy #Social_Security #Socialism #Capitolism