Yossi Yonah
Yossi YonahFlash 90

Haredi party United Torah Judaism (UTJ) found an unlikely supporter in its fight to raise child allowances as part of the 20th Knesset on Thursday: none other than leftist MK Professor Yossi Yonah (Labor).

Yonah strongly supported the move as "benefitting the children of Israel" in a post on Facebook, noting that Israel is almost in last place in terms of GDP per capita in OECD countries. Spain is in last place. 

Yonah backed up his views with statistics.

"In Israel, the child allowance is 36 euros a month for the first child, 55 euros for two, three, and four children, and an additional 36 euros for the fifth child and above," he noted. "In Belgium, for example, the benefit is more than 90 euros for the first child, 167.05 euros for the second child, and 249.41 euros for third child and above."

Only the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Spain give lower child allowances, he added.

"I do not want to live in a country where a child comes to school hungry because his parents do not have money," he said. "According to estimates, cuts in benefits during the last Knesset pushed about 40 thousand children below the poverty line."

"As we know, there are those who think that this is the right policy: to hit the next generation and force parents to join the labor market," Yonah added. "This not only lacks compassion, but hindsight has proven it's ineffective." 

"As part of the coalition agreement signed between Likud and United Torah Judaism, the average of allowances would be returned as they were in 2013 and will be paid retroactively from the beginning of 2016," he noted. "Since the agreement was presented in the media, some argued that an increase in allowances is a purely haredi benefit at best, and extortion at worst."

"But in light of Israel's poor ranking in this regard, raising allowances is a blessing!" he said.