האם תיסגר הקרן למפעלי שיקום נכיםדצמבר 29, 2013
The battle between the fund and rehabilitation enterprises and the government ministries is in full swing. The fund claims that the government ministries concocted a plan to privatize and dry it up, which puts it at risk of closure and dismissal. The Ministry of Finance and Welfare, for their part, accuse the fund of failed and wasteful conduct, and even of political appointments. The foundation submitted a letter to the Attorney General and meanwhile on the ground: 12,000 people with disabilities are the ones suffering.
By: Alon Aharonov, CEO of Makuti, and Makuti's team
After about two years in which the Foundation for Rehabilitation Enterprises is trying to get back on its feet, it seems that it has finally decided and announced its closure. In the debate between her and the Ministry of Welfare and the Ministry of Finance, accusations are revealed regarding the responsibility for the deterioration of the fund. Conspiracies to privatize the fund in the face of huge salaries for senior executives, are only part of the debate that focuses on the wrong thing. While the two entities argue over who will bear responsibility, the employees and recipients of the fund's services have to look for an alternative solution.
The Foundation for Rehabilitation Enterprises was established by the state for ethical and humanitarian purposes. To date, it has operated under the Ministry of Welfare to integrate people with disabilities into work, including those with physical and mental disabilities. The foundation is a source of hope for many and provides essential services such as diagnostic services, preparation for employment, professional rehabilitation, placement of the disabled in a public institution, assistance in the areas of rehabilitation, education, housing and leisure, exercise of social skills, help for students with special needs and more.
There is no disputing that the foundation's significance among the public is enormous, but it has encountered many difficulties in recent years. Just in the last year, the ministries of finance and welfare cut about 15 million NIS from the support to the fund, 30% of its activity was reduced and as a result, the fund ran into a deficit of about 30 million NIS. After a two-year crisis, which included layoffs and withholding of wages, the fund's management warned of closure last October 16.
Is the government to blame for the fund's failed conduct?
About 430 employees, including social workers, psychotherapists and clerks, are expected to be laid off. All of these conduct courses and help young people with severe learning disabilities, mentally challenged, traffic accident victims, and more, with the goal of returning to the job market. The implication of a layoff is not a loss of income only for the foundation's employees, but also for the population it has served until today. 12,000 disabled people who received services will not be able to return to work. Besides them, the 2,500 employed in 45 factories and 70 rehabilitation projects are expected to lose their income.
Despite the criticism directed at the fund's conduct, it lays the blame precisely on the government. David Ben Nun , CEO of the fund, believes that the Ministry of Finance and Welfare decided not to help the fund in order to justify its closure. According to him, the fund's activities are largely at a standstill, it is hardly possible to pay wages to employees, debts to suppliers are piling up and there is no ability to purchase basic equipment.
The fund claims that out of 14 representatives of government ministries and national insurance that were in the fund, four representatives remain today and no replacements have been appointed for others. According to her, this is an indication that the government is the one that wants to close the fund and worked for its privatization. Also according to the chairman of the Histadrut Ma'of (a professional union of managers, farm workers and clerks), Arnon Bar-David , the director general of the Ministry of Welfare wants to appoint a liquidator for the fund. According to Bar-David, the reason may be that he thinks it has no future. .
Kobi Navon , an accountant, came up with a recovery plan for the fund. The government claims that the fund does not carry out the recovery plans at all as required, while the fund claims that it agreed to every recovery step and it was the government that withdrew Navon's plan. Last May, an employee retirement agreement was even signed at the fund in exchange for the infusion of funds and covering the deficit, but the promised money has not yet reached its destination.
The fund claims that the situation it reached was due to the sleight of hand and the sloppy conduct of the Ministry of Welfare and Finance officials who "buried their heads in the sand" and led to the paralysis of the fund and its mounting debts. Following the alleged conduct of the government ministries, the foundation sent a letter to the Attorney General, Yehuda Weinstein . In the letter she stated that if an immediate solution is not found, it will be necessary to turn to legal courts against the state.
On the other side of the barricade, the government ministries are not afraid and say that the threats to close the fund are idle threats and there is no danger of dismissal. In addition, the government ministries claim that the fund is a wasteful and failed body. This is expressed, according to them, in the purchase of a large and inflated fleet of vehicles, and the employment of senior officials such as the company's secretary, Yeftah Dabush , at a particularly high salary.
Even according to the employees of the fund itself, its conduct is problematic and failed. The most notable thing is the existence of political appointments that are responsible for the previous Ministers of Welfare: Zebulon Orlev , Yitzhak Herzog and Moshe Kahlon . The conduct manifests itself, for example, in interfering with the appointments of employees and their dismissal. An example of this is the appointment of the secretary of the fund. Debosh, who did not meet the prerequisites in the tender for the position at all, was promoted, financed his academic studies and had an attached car.
The government ministries and the foundation do not see eye to eye. To some extent, the government is responsible for overseeing the fund. Wasteful conduct and political appointments are things that should have been avoided by the government ministries themselves. While there is no agreement between the two bodies on the factor that led to the fund's situation, one thing is certain: the ones who suffer from this bickering are first and foremost the fund's employees and those who receive services from it.
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