”External elements did not intervene in the considerations or work of the War on Poverty Committee,” Minister of Welfare and Social Services Meir Cohen (Yesh Atid) said Monday during a Finance Committee meeting. Minister Cohen was responding to claims from members of the opposition that various elements, mainly in the Treasury, intervened in the poverty committee`s work and tried to influence its conclusions.” Cohen urged the Finance Committee members to provide a ”tailwind” for the conclusions of the Alaluf Committee.
”It is clear to me that not all of the recommendations may be implemented at once, because not all of the required money is available, but I will definitely demand the implementation of a large portion of the recommendations as an initial phase which will be a part of the 2015 budget,” Minister Cohen said. ”This is a mission of not only the government, but of the entire Knesset, regardless of which side you`re on.”
”For the first time in the country`s history, we are truly trying to deal with the poverty issue,” he said.
Finance Committee Chairman Nissan Slomiansky (HaBayit HaYehudi) said ”new money” will be needed in order to implement the recommendations, ”beyond the funds that are currently allocated toward social issues and are helping the weaker segments of society.”
Minister Cohen told the Finance Committee that the recommendations are already being implemented. According to him, 114 centers for the elderly are currently under construction.
Eli Alaluf told the meeting that his committee`s considerations were purely professional and that ”despite the differences of opinion, there was no outside pressure on any committee member.” According to him, there was cooperation between all the government ministries and no political pressure was applied.”
”The state failed to deal with poverty in the 67 years of its existence,” Alaluf said, adding that the committee`s recommendations were invaluable ”because the situation is very severe. We must find creative ways to deal with the severe lack of resources and get people out of the cycle of poverty.”