How is it that a civil servant’s whim, impression or impulse can shatter an entire family’s lives? Some people, pushed and pushed into the corner, can’t take it anymore.
By Yudit Ilany
When the Israeli Employment Service (the unemployment office) registers somebody as “uncooperative,” all social security payments are automatically suspended for two months. This procedure is commonly known as “refusal.” Refusal snowballs single-parent families straight into an avalanche of poverty and distress, from which there is no salvation but death.
September the 22nd was a tough day, during which many women from Jaffa encountered refusals.
The 28th of each month is something of a minor festivity for many Jaffa families. If you have no real need to, it’s better not to visit your local post office on the 28th; it’s the day the National Insurance Institute (social security) transfers money into citizens’ postal accounts. The postal bank has no credit cards or ATMs, so people stand in line waiting quietly for their turn:
In a few minutes I’ll finally have some money in my pocket.
Today I’ll do the ‘Big Shopping’.
A day for paying off debts.
A day to pay utility bills.
A day for finally buying schoolbooks for the kids.
A day to paying the rent.
A day on which I can finally buy something nice for the kids — a treat, or perhaps a chicken for dinner.
It’s also a day of dilemmas:
Should I repair the washing machine or perhaps buy the shoes my son has been dreaming about for months, or maybe visit the dentist?
That toothache has been driving me nuts for several days now. Or perhaps I should postpone going to the dentist for yet another month. With a little Tylenol I can handle that annoying pain for a few more days after all.
And it is a day of buying diapers, baby formula and medicine.
A day also to pay back the small loan I took from my neighbor, or God forbid, from the black market goons who have been pestering me for some days now.
Money runs out quickly and once more I start running a debt at the local grocer and at Rafi’s, the small produce guy with the big heart. I should remember to set some...Read More