Israeli Ministry Denies Request to Help Family of 7 About to Be Evicted

The family's only income is a disability benefit and national insurance funds for the children, but their request for rent assistance or public housing was denied

Menashe Matmon lays in his bed
Rami Shllush

The Construction and Housing Ministry has rejected a request for rent assistance or public housing from a couple who are both ill and unable to support themselves and who have five children. As a result, the family is expected to lose their home after Passover pursuant to an eviction order that has already been issued.

In February, the ministry rejected the couple’s request because they had sold a home within the last decade, a move that disqualified them for public housing. The husband has been recognized by the National Insurance Institute as totally disabled. His wife is recovering from a stroke and also suffers from severe emotional problems. They sold their prior home seven years ago to cover their expenses. The wife also inherited a one-fifth interest in the home of her deceased parents.

The husband was laid off from his job following an accident in 2005, which caused the couple financial and emotional problems as well as major difficulties in their marriage. After following behind on mortgage payments on the home that they owned, they sold it in 2007 to pay off other debt. The proceeds were also enough to pay monthly rent on their new home for the past seven years, but their savings have now been depleted. Their only income is a 5,403 shekel ($1,540) monthly disability benefit that the husband receives and 1,550 shekels ($765) a month that they receive in National Insurance Institute support for their children, including disability support for their 11-year-old son, who is recognized as emotionally disabled.

After the Housing Ministry rejected their claim, the family filed a request to an exceptions committee, which confirmed the decision and ruled that they could not appeal the decision further for a year. Nevertheless, they filed an administrative appeal on Sunday to the Central District Court in Lod with the assistance of Yedid Association for Community Empowerment with an urgent request for public housing.

In the court filing, the couple’s lawyers noted that the one-fifth interest in her parent’s home that the wife inherited has not generated any funds because her two siblings are living in it and they are totally disabled. Under the circumstances, the appeal states, rejecting the couple’s claim due to an “interest in a home” is “divorced from reality and runs counter to the purpose of the regulations and is leading to serious harm to [the couple’s] right to housing and to living in dignity.” The eviction order, the lawyers note, is to be enforced immediately after Passover, at the end of this week.