Twenty-two Israeli social organizations have written to interim Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Finance, Economy, Labor and Social Affairs Ministers and the Minister of Social Equality in the transition government, demanding the implementation of an economic emergency plan in cooperation with civil society organizations. In the letter they write: “Acts of charity by individuals do not diminish the state’s obligation to care for its residents, especially those with low incomes and few opportunities. The state can and should work with civil society at the geographical and social levels, addressing the various types of populations finding themselves in increasing distress.”
The organizations enumerate ten populations in growing distress, among them the elderly, single mothers, people with disabilities, young boys and girls at risk, and Ethiopian immigrants in Israel. The letter also presented 23 practical recommendations for the immediate assistance of these populations and amelioration of their plight due to the crisis. The organizations that signed the letter include Latet (To Give), Leket Israel – Rescuing Healthy Food for Israel’s Needy, Turning Point, Rabbis for Human Rights, Milestones, Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights, Food for Life, The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, The Poverty Alleviation Forum, Women Lawyers for Social Justice, Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel, Physicians for Human Rights, The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, Workers’ Hotline, Association for Ethiopian Jews; Center for the Blind; Tsad Kadima (Step Forward for Children with CP); A New Dawn, and Tikkun.
Among other things, the organizations have called for the establishment of a governmental database of voluntary and aid initiatives to be updated on a regular basis that will enable citizens to quickly identify opportunities in various sectors, in different locales, and of varying activities; Instituting a temporary increase of at least 20% in subsistence allowances (income, disability, alimony) for a period of no less than two months to assist the basic subsistence of the supported population and moving up the payment of the pre-Passover allowances; Paying those employees who have been fired or sent on leave without pay unemployment benefits at 100% of their salary; Payment of unemployment benefits to freelancers and small business owners, especially those working from home; Payment of unemployment insurance to dismissed workers who have not accrued sufficient time on the job to make them eligible for such benefits; Shortening the qualifying period for unemployment benefits, and other recommendations.