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Mar 16, 2021

free money and 1st world problems

Minister of Interior Aryeh Deri put together a plan to assist people in financial need. After some initial hiccups it finally got worked out and the pay cards were sent out to recipients to be used in select stores to help them buy food and grocery items.

The program was funded to the tune of 700million shekels. According to the news, about 200,000 families around the country qualified to receive this support program. Each will receive a different amount loaded onto the card, dependent upon the specific financial situation plus number of family members and their ages.

According to Hamechadesh, residents in Bnei Braq who received the loaded card are upset as to what they discovered. Two issues seem to be upsetting people:

1. in the list of approved stores for using the card are included AM:PM and Tiv Taam. Bother stores are stores that sell treif food and/or are open on Shabbos. Additionally, some of the other stores included in the list are minimarkets that sell at higher prices.

2. They spoke to someone who received the card loaded with 1000nis, and on March 18 it is supposed to be reloaded with more money. The catch is that it will only be reloaded if the first grant of money is used up. So they are complaining about the need to spend 2400nis within just several days.

Regarding the stores, the person quoted in the article "was shocked" to discover that they were given the option of buying in stores that desecrate Shabbos and sell treif. Shocked!

Nobody is making anyone buy food in any specific store. They are given the option to. A "tender" was published and a slew of stores was on the right to sell groceries honoring this card. You don't want to buy in any specific store - don't. Go to a different store. Not only that but for the people of Bnei Braq to buy from AM:PM they would have to go to Tel Aviv to do their shopping. While anyone who chooses to certainly could, it seems like not such a big deal for people who aren't interested.

Deri's response was that it is a tender and those stores are among the many that won the rights. And, there are many non-Jews who received the cards as well and have no problem buying treif or in stores open on Shabbos.

Regarding the issue of how much they have to spend how fast - is that really a problem? Just go shopping twice. It is almost Pesach. It does not seem to me like it would be so difficult to use up all that money on Pesach groceries. As a matter of fact, I am pretty sure it could be really easy and soon they will be complaining that it was not enough money.

Poor people complaining about free money that could be spent in stores they don't go to anyway and that they are being given too much at the point of the year where spending is highest (right before Pesach) seems like "first world problems" to me.

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  1. Non-Jews is the best Deri could say? Not, say, to remind them that there are non-religious people in the country who eat treif and shop on Shabbat?

    Although I have a strong feeling this was really meant for charedim in the first place.

    1. even though true, Deri cannot enable non religious people to buy treif. it happens, but for Deri it is legitimate to say it is for goyim but not legitimate to say it is for non religious Jews.
      one of the petitions against this plan originally was that it was manipulated in a way to mostly support Haredim. Obviously he couldnt do that 100%, but it seems form what I have read (and dont know if accurate) that the large majority of recipients are Haredi families.

    2. Exactly, on both counts.


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