In May, HaMoked received unusual calls from Jerusalem Palestinians, who suddenly discovered that the National Insurance Institute (NII) had revoked their family’s health care and welfare benefits with no notice or explanation.
Rana (alias) was nine months pregnant. Her husband had been arrested in early May as part of a widespread arrest operation of Jerusalemite activists, and released three days later. She then went to a routine medical check-up, only to be denied service as her health insurance had been revoked. The official justification for revocation of her insurance was that the family’s “center of life” is no longer in Jerusalem. But they have lived in the same apartment in the Old City of Jerusalem for many years, and nothing has recently changed in their living circumstances.
It seems in these cases that the revocation of social welfare rights was intended to harass activists and their families, as documented by Ha’aretz journalist Nir Hasson.
HaMoked is representing six such families, including three pregnant women. We filed claims to the Labor Court to reinstate their benefits, via Attorneys Tamir Blank and Adi Lustigman.
In Rana’s case, though we filed an urgent claim, the court scheduled the hearing for November 30th! So we were forced to file another request for an urgent hearing, stressing that Rana requires uninterrupted health insurance for neonatal care and any unexpected medical needs.
And then, suddenly, the National Insurance Institute reversed all of the revocations. We were just notified this week that the sixth and last family had had their benefits reinstated.
We are happy that our individual assistance has concluded successfully (and meanwhile Rana gave birth and both she and her son are doing well). However, this is not the end of the story as far as we are concerned. We have asked the Labor Court to award punitive and exemplary damages, and to require the NII to explain its actions. It is outrageous to use basic social rights as a tool to harass and intimidate activists, and they must be held accountable.
We will keep you posted on developments in this and other cases.
Executive Director of HaMoked