ACRI to PM: Corona Emergency Aid Needed
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel appealed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon to urgently intervene in formulating an emergency aid package to assist those unable to economically survive the quarantine.
The letter, sent by ACRI’s Executive Director Atty. Sharon Abraham-Weiss, states that thus far, the government has taken steps aimed at aiding employees affected financially, mainly salary workers and freelancers. However, there is a population in the country facing poverty and severe economic hardship from before the pandemic – people earning a living from temporary jobs and who are not eligible for unemployment benefits; people living on welfare; homeless persons; migrants and asylum seekers; women in prostitution and more – and now their condition is worsening.
“The lack of timely steps taken by the government to help those living on the margins of basic necessity: money, food and medicine, not only undermines the basic right to live in dignity and to health, but will most likely lead to a breach of quarantine and risk to their and the public’s health. One cannot expect a mutual guarantee to take place between this population and the authorities if people are starving and the authorities do not help them to survive this difficult period,” the letter states.
The police have already warned of the of the possibility of a deterioration due to offenses committed in the struggle to survive, including robberies and looting by those who have all at once lost their source of income. ACRI claims that the response of a democratic state is to take immediate steps to help those who cannot survive the quarantine for an extended period of time, rather than police officers taking to the streets.
ACRI requests an order for the establishment of an emergency hotline, and the provision of an emergency budget for subsistence grants, food supplies, and medicines to ensure the right to live in dignity for all those in need, until the situation stabilizes. In addition, ACRI requests an order for the automatic postponement of any payment due to the state or local authorities, as well as debt to state or local authorities via emergency legislation until the situation stabilizes.