HaMoked to the Labor Court: the National Insurance Institute’s interpretation of the Income Support Law was inconsistent with the law’s objective and disproportionately harmful to Palestinian minors המוקד להגנת הפרט
HaMoked to the Labor Court: the National Insurance Institute’s interpretation of the Income Support Law was inconsistent with the law’s objective and disproportionately harmful to Palestinian minors
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On February 14, 2011, HaMoked applied to the National Insurance Institute (NII), on behalf of two minors from East Jerusalem, the daughters of an Israeli resident father, who began serving a prison term a few days earlier, and a mother from the West Bank, a resident of the OPT. HaMoked claimed child allowance and income support on the girls’ behalf, based on an amendment to the Income Support Law, whereby a minor who has one Israeli resident parent serving a prison sentence of more than 30 days, and another parent who is not a resident of Israel, with whom s/he is living – is entitled to income support.

On February 24, 2011, the NII rejected the claim on the grounds that income-support entitlement was subject to the claimant being a registered Israeli resident for a consecutive period of at least 24 months prior to filing the claim, whereas the minors were registered at the Israeli population registry as of February 2011 only.

HaMoked wrote again to the NII, claiming there was an error in the decision, given that the statutory residency period related to the parent, not the minors, and that the girls’ father was a registered Israeli resident from 2009. But the NII persisted, claiming that “the entitlement to income support is conditional on the residency of the benefit claimant, and not his parent.

Thereupon, on May 11, 2011, HaMoked filed a claim to the Jerusalem Regional Labor Court on behalf of the girls for child allowance from November 2010, when the father was placed under house arrest, and income support for the duration of the father’s prison term. HaMoked argued that it was inconceivable that a minor’s income-support entitlement given his parent’s prison term, would be conditional on the minor’s residency for a consecutive period of 24 months. According to this logic, a baby under the age of two would not be entitled to this benefit; hence this was a wrongful and discriminatory law. HaMoked also stressed that both minors had been born in Jerusalem and living there their entire lives, had a father who was an East Jerusalem resident and currently had no breadwinner parent; the NII’s interpretation of the Law was inconsistent with the Law’s purpose and caused the children excessive harm.

In the hearing of May 28, 2012, two main disagreements rose between the parties: the principle issue of the minors’ residency status at the Ministry of Interior for the purpose of the NII Law and the Income Support Law; and the legality question as to the requirement for an uninterrupted 24-month residency period of the girls claiming income support. HaMoked later asked to postpone the hearing on the issue of principle pending the National Labor Court judgment in an appeal concerning the entitlement to national health insurance of children not yet registered in the Ministry of Interior who have only one Israeli resident parent.

On August 5, 2015, the court dismissed the claim, ruling that the girls were not entitled to income support and child allowance prior to their registration by the Ministry of Interior. The court also adopted the NII’s interpretation of the Income Support Law, ruling that the children were not entitled to receive these benefits because 24 months had not passed between their date of registration as residents and the claim filing date.

On October 12, 2015, HaMoked appealed the judgment to the National Labor Court.

On June 14, 2017, the court decided to defer consideration of the appeal until the court issued a judgment on the said related appeal.
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