"When I went into the shelter they took away my income support benefits. From my perspective it was a disaster, the allowance which served as the basis of my income just disappeared."
M. who has been living in a battered women's shelter for eight months is a mother of three who arrived at the shelter after years of physical and mental abuse. On Monday a silver lining appeared in the shape of the new law which will provide women in shelters with income support benefits.
The law which was submitted by Knesset Member Zahava Gal-On (Meretz) and MK Dov Khenin (Hadash) passed its second and third readings with majority of 60 in favor and none opposing. The law will aid some 780 battered women who reside in 13 shelters for victims of domestic violence throughout Israel.
The new law will correct the situation where women who received income support benefits from the State were forced to give them up when they sought shelter. This left women in the dangerous position of having to choose between continuing to receive the allowance and living with a man who abuses them or seeking the aid of a shelter but losing the allowance.
MK Dov Khenin said: "We cannot have a situation where a battered women's shelter serves as an alibi for the State to disassociate itself from its responsibilities. Women in these shelters need the income support benefits more than anyone as they have no other source of income and should not be afraid of losing their allowance if they go to the shelters."
MK Gal-On welcomed the passing of the bill and said: "Women will no longer have to choose between personal security and financial security… The law solves the catch 22 under which the women had to exist."