Israel has withheld NIS 1.5 billion in Palestinian workers’ pension funds.Kav LaOved, an organisation protecting disempowered workersâ€™ rights in Israel, filed an appeal against the Israeli government, the Population, Borders and Immigration Authority, and the Ministry of Finance for mismanaging Palestinian workersâ€™ pension funds.
The organisation determined that Israel has withheld NIS 1.5 billion ($386,274,940 US) in Palestinian workersâ€™ pension funds.
The Israeli government deducts a set amount from workersâ€™ paychecks for pension plans. Then, when a worker encounters an insurance-qualifying life event, such as disability, old age, or the death of a partner, they can claim pension insurance.
However, Palestinians working in Israel seldom have access to their pension insurance, even though the state deducts money from their paychecks in an identical fashion.
Kav LaOved found this is largely because Israel neglects to inform Palestinians that they even have pension plans. The little information that is provided to Palestinians is not in Arabic, and erroneously reclassifies pension plans as â€śinsurance savings.â€ť
By masking Palestiniansâ€™ pension plans as â€śsavings,â€ť Kav LaOved claims the state covertly encourages Palestinians to prematurely withdraw money from their pension plans. Not only does this result in Palestinians paying extremely high taxes on such withdrawals, but they also unknowingly disqualify themselves from claiming pension insurance later on.
The stateâ€™s negligence and manipulations have resulted in only one Palestinian receiving pension funds for old age in 2013, three in 2014, and 113 in 2015.
There are approximately 50,000 Palestinians working in Israel.
Kav LaOved also found that the Israeli government has inexplicably canceled basic coverage from Palestiniansâ€™ pension plans, such as coverage for disability.
Attorney Michal Tadjer told the AIC that on this matter, no one can explain â€śwhen or [why].â€ť
The appeal argues that this haphazard system constitutes â€śthe violation of property and theviolation of equalityâ€ť and â€śthus [amounts] to the exploitation of a marginalised,poor workers sector that lacks a voice.â€ť
Kav LaOved insists that the state must provide adequate information about the pension system to Palestinian workers, treat Palestinian workersâ€™ pension funds as pensions, and restore insurance benefits that have been inexplicably canceled.
More at AIC official.