Gershon Mesika
Gershon MesikaFlash 90

With the publishing of a report Monday by the Comptroller's Office on the lack of government assistance for poor Israelis, leftist politicians have latched onto yet another tactic to deligitimize Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria – a very cynical and dishonest position to take, said Samaria Council head Gershon Mesika.

“It's time to put an end to the cheap demagoguery of the left” which blames every problem in Israel on “the settlers,” said Mesika. “For the information of those on the left who are looking under rocks for money to solve the problem of poverty: Israel invests a lot less in the residents of Judea and Samaria than in residents of the rest of the country.”

Earlier Monday, State Comptroller Yosef Shapira on Monday released a report that slammed the state's nutritional assistance to poor Israelis. According to the report, 900,000 Israelis – 360,000 of them children – miss meals because they cannot afford to buy food they need for three meals a day. In some cases, the report said, families were forced to skip whole days, eating only a small amount, because they had run out of money to buy food.

Much of the blame for the situation could be placed on the shoulders of the government, said Shapira. Instead of supporting the hungry itself, the government has preferred to leave the job to private organizations that raise money and collect food from wealthier Israelis. “These groups are not effective enough,” Shapira wrote. “Most of the assistance provided by these organizations is for food for Passover, but this is a once a year event for many of the poor. The organizations are the ones who decide how much food to provide and when to give it out, and this too is unacceptable.”

Leftist leaders, including Labor MK Stiv Shafir, immediately seized on the findings to denounce the “government money being wasted on settlements” as a prime cause of the lack of government money for the poor. But doing so was unfair and discriminatory. “At the end of the day we are all citizens here, and we all observe the law and pay taxes. The state would have to invest in them whether they lived in the Negev or Galilee.”

Mesika added that there were also poor children in Judea and Samaria. “If Stiv Shafir is looking for money to help poor Israelis, I suggest she get some from the millionaires who funded their campaign several summers ago to remove Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu from office, a campaign they received millions for.”