"The government is keeping its promise to hurt the poor, the weak families and the haredim," Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri told Ynet Tuesday as the Treasury's decision to cut child allotments went into effect.
"This is a government of wickedness; it does not have a drop of compassion. This government does not have a right to exist. It is legitimate but immoral," said Deri of the move, which reduces by hundreds of shekels sums paid to families by the National Insurance Institute, regardless of the number of children in the family or of the family's income.
Under the new guidelines, parents will receive NIS 140 ($40) for each child born after 2003. In comparison, before the cuts were made, parents would receive NIS 263 ($74) for second, third and fourth child, and NIS 175 ($50) for each child after the fifth.
Deri, whose religious Shas party is in the opposition, compared once again the current government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to that of Ariel Sharon a decade ago. Netanyahu served as finance minister in that government, which also cut child stipends. "It is essentially the same government. They made the same cuts. But, thank God, after the (Gaza) Disengagement that government disappeared and Shinui vanished. I hope this government will also vanish quickly," Deri said.
Shinui was headed by Yosef Lapid, the late father of current Finance Minister Yair Lapid.
Deri said the Treasury's decision will drive tens of thousands of children into poverty. "This is damage than cannot be repaired later. These children do not have the same opportunities compared with children from Herzliya. What is this statement by the finance minister that parents should take responsibility over their children? How conceited and arrogant," the Shas leader said.
"The decrees of Lapid and the Netanyahu government are more severe than the pharaoh's. The (cut in child stipends) means that many children will not have the opportunity to obtain a profession, earn a normal salary or grow up in a normal home. This is a poverty decree impose on the largest families in Israel," Deri told Ynet.
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