Panel Urges Compensation for Working Sderot-area Residents

Knesset Finance Committee calls on Finance Ministry to reimburse workers for lost work days through Aug.

The Knesset Finance Committee reiterated Wednesday its demand for the Finance Ministry to increase the financial aid given to residents of Sderot and communities near the Gaza Strip.

Sderot and other area communities have been bombarded with Qassam rockets fired by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip for the past three years, and experienced an escalation in rocket fire in recent weeks.

The chairman of the committee, MK Stas Misezhnikov (Yisrael Beiteinu), demanded that the ministry give a special incentive to Sderot residents who arrive at work regularly, despite the rocket threat.

MK Haim Oron (Meretz) proposed to allocate a special bonus of NIS 500 a month to each worker who will arrive at their workplace regularly in the next months.

The Finance Ministry said in response that the issue is complicated and would require amending the law, which currently does not allow transferring financial benefits from property tax funds.

MKs also called for the compensation of workers who miss work days out of fear for their safety. The MKs seek compensation for lost work days for a longer period of time than is currently instituted. Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry proposed to reimburse absences from work throughout the second half of the month of May.

MK Misezhnikov proposed reimbursing workers for June and August as well. "The situation won't end in June, and therefore we must compensate them until the end of August," he said.

Misezhnikov also urged the Finance Ministry to compensate event hall operators in the region, whose businesses lost most of their income recently due to the security situation.