Food Coupon Program Again Discriminates Against Non-Citizen Residents | Chaim V’Chessed

In April 2021, then-Interior Minister Aryeh Deri initiated a program in which valuable coupons for food and other goods in supermarkets were distributed to underprivileged residents of Israel. Any resident receiving a discount on arnona (property tax) was automatically eligible for this program.

At the time, Chaim V’Chessed reported that non-citizens who were residents of Israel and met the program’s criteria; i.e. they received arnona discounts – were originally prohibited from receiving these coupons, despite seemingly being eligible. Chaim V’Chessed interfaced extensively at the time with Interior Ministry officials. When these pleas fell upon deaf ears, the organization was forced to engage a top-flight law firm who sent a strongly-worded missive to the Interior Ministry, accusing the program of being in violation of Israeli law. As a result of these efforts, the Interior Ministry caved and began granting these coupons to non-citizen residents as well.

History repeats itself. In August, current Interior Minister Moshe Arbel reinstated the food coupon program. Once again, all who are eligible for discounts on their arnona bills are eligible to receive the coupons. Shortly thereafter, various municipalities began advertising the program. Lo and behold, announcements stated clearly that passport holders (i.e. non-citizen residents) are not eligible.

Within days, Chaim V’Chessed was contacted by dozens of residents who had attempted to obtain these valuable coupons and had been rejected. Chaim V’Chessed immediately contacted Ministry officials, and Knesset members as well. MK Yitzchak Pindrus especially has taken a great interest in resolving this issue.

Despite the combined efforts, the Interior Ministry has not budged. In light of this, Chaim V’Chessed once again engaged Arnon and Co. to investigate the eligibility rules. The prestigious firm discovered that, according to regulations, it is clear that all  toshavim (residents) ought to be eligible for this sizable grant. Last week, the legal team, headed by attorney Nir Rosner, sent a sharp letter to the Interior Ministry demanding an immediate rectification of this situation. It is our hope that the Interior Ministry will resolve this matter in a fair and timely fashion.

To better lobby for a change, Chaim V’Chessed is collecting the details of non-citizen residents who should be eligible for this program. If this applies to you, please click here to submit your details. All information will remain confidential.

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