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Social Protests Target Bibi

PM Netanyahu is targeted by protesters who call for more government help for poor children, retired soldiers.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 4/3/2011, 8:29 PM / Last Update: 4/4/2011, 12:13 AM

IDF Retirees Organization

Two protests took place Sunday calling on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to provide more help to the poor.

In the morning, protesters demonstrated outside the weekly Cabinet meeting, under the banner, “850 thousand and three hundred poor children (“Bibi's children”) demand nutrition with dignity.”

The term “Bibi's children” was a reference to the many children who now live under the poverty line; an estimated 60% more than were living under the poverty line 10 years earlier. Protesters blamed Netanyahu for the increase, although much of the increase occurred during his predecessor's term of office and before he entered office for this most recent term.

“Hundreds of thousands of children are growing up in poverty and distress, and are suffering from hunger, as the result of the anti-social economic policies promoted by the Prime Minister,” organizers said. “The policies use incitement against parents, especially hareidi-religious and Arab parents, in order to justify abandoning children to poverty and hunger.”

One specific demand organizers had was the institution of a school lunch policy that would ensure that poor children get at least one nutritious meal each day.

'The State Betrayed Me'
Meanwhile, hundreds of retired IDF soldiers demonstrated outside the Prime Minister's Office, protesting the erosion of their monthly stipend due to inflation.

One protester, Shachar Chanoch, is a Holocaust survivor and served in the IDF for 31 years. He told Arutz Sheva that he now is forced to fish cans and bottles out of the garbage for recycling in order to meet his bills.

“I feel like the state betrayed me. Unfortunately, I had to take a loan from the bank to live with dignity,” Chanoch said.

Another IDF retiree, Yael Dekel, said, “It's a disgrace that the salaries have eroded... some of them are less than 3,000 shekels. I served in the IDF for more than 20 years, and gave everything that I and my family had for the IDF and for the country. I hope the Prime Minister will take immediate action so that we can get to the Passover seder with dignity.”

Rabbi Yosef Wasserman explained, “On the eve of Pesach we are directing our request to the Prime Minister, because we no longer trust the Defense Minister or Finance Minister, who for years have undermined IDF pensions and hurt those very people who sacrificed for the state and for the citizens of Israel.”