In 2016, Chaim V’Chessed achieved a significant victory on behalf of foreign visa holders living in Israel. At that time, Rav Kavs had just come into use as payment for the transportation system. Chaim V’Chessed discovered that child visa holders were not being allowed to configure their Rav Kav profile as children. This forced these youngsters to pay for each bus ride as adults, approximately double the child fare!
Since most visa holders are classified as toshavim, residents, this discrimination was clearly illegitimate. As Israeli residents, they are required to pay taxes in Israel, and similarly, they are eligible to receive government benefits such as schooling, Bituach Leumi and more. There is no justification in their children not receiving youth discounts on buses or trains.
At the time, Chaim V’Chessed swung into action, contacting the Transportation Ministry, Knesset members and even lawyers in an effort to rectify the situation. After Chaim V’Chessed’s CEO, Rabbi Paysach Freedman, testified before a Knesset panel on the topic, the Transportation Ministry agreed that these children should be treated no differently than Israeli citizen children. The Ministry issued clear, and fair, guidelines for discounts for visa holder children, see here. Following that ruling, Chaim V’Chessed spent several months ensuring that the Rav Kav locations around the country actually implemented the new policy.
Over the past several years, visa holder children obtained child rates without incident. However, Chaim V’Chessed Bureaucratic Advisor, Mrs. Gitty Garfinkel, recently learned that, quietly, the rules have been changed! Suddenly, children of visa holders are no longer charged as children; they must pay adult rates – costing their parents double for each ride!
A clarification with our contacts in the Transportation Ministry revealed that, indeed, the Ministry quietly changed the rules, with no public debate or notification. Chaim V’Chessed intends to vigorously pursue a resolution to this unfair practice. We will update the public with developments.