The Knesset House Committee has unanimously approved an accelerated procedure for the economic aid program bill and the amendment to The Basic Law: The State Economy in all readings. The two bills regularize the payment of a grant to Israeli citizens that was approved yesterday by the government and by the ministerial legislation committee.
The grants will cost a total of NIS 6.5 billion. At the end of the legislative process the money will be transferred by the National Insurance Institute. The deputy legal counsel at the Ministry of Finance told the committee that the National Insurance Institute would be ready to make the payments this Thursday.
It is not clear, however, that this will happen. The Knesset Finance Committee is supposed to prepare the legislation for second and third readings, but committee chairperson Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) announced yesterday that he stood by his demand that the fourth and fifth children in families should not be discriminated against in the grants program. (As it stands, the grant rises with each child up to the third). Gafni said that changing the program in the Finance Committee and adding to the budget according to the number of children would not delay the grant by a single day. In other words, unless his demand is met, the grant will be held up in the Finance Committee.
Gafni and other haredi members of Knesset claim that the program as it stands discriminates against families with many children. Before the discussion in the government, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Finance Israel Katz refused the demand, and battle will be resumed in the Finance Committee.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on July 27, 2020
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