Knesset Approves ‘Check for Every Citizen’ Program

YERUSHALAYIM -
View of the National Insurance Institute offices in Yerushalayim. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Knesset approved the “Check for Every Citizen” program championed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yisrael Katz on Wednesday on its second and third readings.

Sixty-eight MKs voted in favor of the plan, while none opposed it. To receive the grants, anyone who does not already receive support from the National Insurance Institute will have to fill in the details of their bank account on the National Insurance Institute’s website.

The plan includes each adult receiving a NIS 750 grant. In addition, NIS 500 grants will be given for the first four children, with NIS 300 given for each additional child.

The grant offered to IDF soldiers who finished their service or will finish it during 2020 was raised by NIS 500, to NIS 1,250.

Further aid was extended to Holocaust survivors, those who became disabled during their army service, new immigrants who arrived to the country in the past year, and other groups if they are in need of aid.

The modified plan will cost roughly NIS 6.7 billion.

Prior to the vote, Finance Minister Yisrael Katz said, “I’m glad this law is getting broad support, to convey the message that we – the government and the Knesset – are with the public shoulder to shoulder and will help in the spirit of mutual responsibility of support and assistance in order to get through this difficult time together, until the rosy and promising future a year from now or less, when the vaccine will be found and we will return to activity of growth and prosperity.”

Finance Committee Chairman MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) presented the proposal and praised the Finance Minister for agreeing to revise the original bill, because “a seventh child is also hungry, and a seventh child must also be given lunch.

“Once we decided to give [the grant] – and it is the right decision – we give it to everyone,” he said. “We give it to the seventh and eighth child and we give it to the discharged soldier and we give it to whoever is here as a citizen.” The law, he stated, “positions ​Israel as a country in which there is no discrimination.”

The grants for families with children under the age of 18 will go into bank accounts on Sunday. The sums are expected to be given in several installments, with the first installment coming on Sunday.

National Insurance Institute director Meir Spiegler said that the organization “has never undertaken a project of this scope, with a grant for every citizen.”

“The money will be transferred to the eligible beneficiaries until every last citizen receives the grants he deserves,” Spiegler promised.