Shuli Muallem-Refaeli
Shuli Muallem-RefaeliFlash 90

The Knesset approved on Wednesday in preliminary reading a bill submitted by Jewish Home Chair MK Shuli Mualem Refaeli, which mandates equalizing conditions received by all terror victim's families.

To date, family members of terror victims are entitled to receive stipends from the National Insurance Institute as well as the deceased's pension funds..However, when it comes to terror victims who had special budgetary pensions such as civil servants and IDF career officers, families had to choose between the right to receive pension funds or benefits from the National Insurance Institute.

Budgetary pensions, 70% of a retiree's last salary (and 76% in the IDF) are paid solely by the employer, which in the case of civil servants and IDF career officers, is the state itself. Regular pensions are paid partly by a deduction from salaries and partly by the employer. Although budgetary pensions do not exist anymore for new civil servants and career officers, and are rare in the private sector today, the government will be required to find over 600 billion shekels, a third of the national debt, to pay the pensions of those who were entitled to them when they were hired in the past. That is the reasoning behind the directive to choose which benefit to receive as both the budgetary pension and the National Insurance stipend are paid by the state. Bereaved families, however, uffered from this inequality.

In order to illustrate the situation, MK Mualem Rafaeli spoke of Yaakov Don, who was murdered in a Gush Etzion attack exactly two years ago."The family of Yaakov Don, whose world was destroyed, was forced to cope, beyond the tremendous pain, with several bureaucracies, and was surprised to discover that they were not like other bereaved families of terror victims."

It was explained to them that they must choose between entitlement to an annuity under the Compensation for Victims of Hostilities Law and the right to a survivors' pension under the Civil Service Law or the Standing Army Service Law in the Israel Defense Forces. The reason for this was that Yaakov Don had a budgetary pension, while families whose loved ones had regular accrued pensions automatically received the two benefits.

"Is this fair?" Asked Mualem Rafaeli. "Is it appropriate for the State of Israel to discriminate among the bereaved families because of the type of pension?"