Interior Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri (Shas) has promoted a new initiative to help Israel’s hungry. In cooperation with local authorities, the “Food Security for Disadvantaged Families” project is set to provide around one million disadvantaged families with prepaid cards for the purchase of food and other essentials.
The Interior Ministry used the additional NIS 700 million ($217 million) in funding it received from the government this year to fund the initiative.
According to Rabbi Deri, the assistance would help disadvantaged families devastated by the pandemic, who he said were the main victims of the crisis and whose plight he said had not been addressed.
This special budget will be allocated to recipients of a discount over 70% in the payment of property taxes (arnona) and to senior citizens receiving an allowance from the Bituach Leumi (old age, survivors, dependents or disabled due to work injury). All of these will be entitled to the food cards without the need to submit a special application and they will arrive at their home via mail.
The Interior Ministry also decided that anyone who is not registered with the collection departments of the authorities, but would have met these conditions if he owned the property for the purpose of paying property taxes and has a direct connection to the local authority, may apply to the local authority for these vouchers. Those who are found eligible will receive the tickets retroactively if they are delayed in their distribution.
The Interior Ministry estimates that the vouchers will be distributed to about 150,000 disadvantaged families who have been economically affected as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
The food vouchers will be distributed in three payments over the next three months.
The value of one ticket for an adult (owner of a household and spouse) is NIS 300. The value of one ticket per additional person in the household is NIS 225. The maximum amount of smart cards for a household in each of the installments will be NIS 2,400. These are rechargeable cards that upon completion of their use, and given eligibility, will be charged an additional amount for the purchase of food.