Grants Will Be Expanded; Additional Amounts to Be Given Per Child

YERUSHALAYIM -
Chairman MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni leads a meeting of the Finance Committee. (Knesset)

The Finance Committee discussed Tuesday the expansion of the grants program, that was approved by the Knesset in its first reading on Monday, so that families with more than three children will receive additional grants. Parents will now receive NIS 500 for the fourth child and NIS 300 for each additional child.

Until now, the government had insisted on a NIS 500 grant for the first, second and third child – but not beyond that. This caused a crisis with the chareidi parties, and especially Knesset Finance Committee Chairman Rabbi Moshe Gafni, who saw this as a deliberate attack on the chareidi public with large families and threatened not to approve the plan in the committee.

Now, as mentioned, a fundamental change has been achieved, about which Coalition chairman Mickey Zohar said: “There is a decision here, which I also wanted to bring on behalf of the prime minister, in cooperation with all coalition members: families with children do not have to pay for having children.

“I think it is good that we are doing good to the citizens. This initiative, whether it came from any of the Knesset members here, is a positive initiative that helps the citizens of Israel. I hope that the wording of the legislation will proceed according to this wording,” the coalition chairman added.

The Knesset plenum on Monday night approved in the first reading the two bills that regularize the payment of a grant to Israeli citizens amid the economic crisis brought on by the corona pandemic.

The government will allocate some NIS 6.5 billion for the grants, which will be given to all citizens with the exception of those earning over NIS 640,000 per annum and senior civil servants earning over NIS 30,000 per month.

The Economic Aid Program Bill was supported in its first reading by 80 MKs, with none against, and after amendments in the Finance Committee will return to the Knesset for its second and third votes.

On Monday, the deputy legal counsel at the Finance Ministry said that the cash would reach people’s bank accounts by Thursday, but the National Insurance Institute, which is responsible for distribution of the handout, said that because it did not have up-to-date details of all bank accounts, the transfer would probably take place next week.