January 30, 2010 at 9:33 am
State denies the following, but in the case of other such scandals,
‘where there is smoke there is fire’….. let’s watch as this develops.
BY BEN HARTMAN
siphoned over a billion shekels in money taken from Palestinian
laborers for national insurance between 1970-1994, a report released on
According to the report, compiled by the workers’ rights
organization Kav LaOved, between the years 1970-1994 over NIS 1 billion
was withheld from Palestinian workers’ salaries in order to pay their
national insurance, but in practice, the report states, the money was
instead funneled to the Finance Ministry and used to pay National Labor
Union fees, even while the workers were not given membership in the
that during those years, Palestinian workers would receive an invoice
with their paycheck that detailed a sum withdrawn for national
insurance. According to the report’s findings, only 7.63 percent of the
withheld funds went to pay for the workers’ insurance, with the
remainder being funneled to the Finance Ministry.
In the report, entitled “State Robbery,” Kav LaOved cites a letter
received in 1993 from the Finance Ministry saying that the money
withheld went to pay the civilian authorities in the West Bank in order
to fund infrastructure programs.
Hannah Zohar, the author of the report and director of Kav LaOved,
said she presumes that the infrastructure programs in question had to
do with the construction of settlements.
The Finance Ministry has denied the allegations.
The report describes the 1991 legal
case in which the Flower Growers Union petitioned the High Court
demanding the return of funds that were not used for the national
insurance payments as intended. The court ruled in their favor and
forced the government to return approximately NIS 4.7 million to
employers and their workers.
Zohar told the Post on Thursday that the court case should have set
a legal precedent leading to the return of all the money siphoned away
from national insurance payments, but instead has been largely
The Finance Ministry issued a statement Thursday denying the
allegations, adding that the report is based on “confusion over the
different roles carried out by separate branches of the government.”
The Histadrut labor federation called the report “full of lies” and
“baseless” and accused Kav LaOved of coming to their conclusions before
conducting their research, with the findings having “no connection to
The Government Payments Branch did not respond to the report.