Sunday, November 26

Legal Robbers

Tamy just contacted me. She's all of 18 years old, occasionally working as a kinder-garden teaching aid (read: the one who changes nappies, feeds the kids and does the cleaning) and spends much of her time learning how to read and write.
She grew up in shelters for battered women, each time in another one, and before dropping out, she had visited, for some time, at least 20 different schools. Tamy's a clever girl but she never had the peace of mind to study.
Tamy's mum was a battered wife. Several times she was hospitalized as a result of her husband's violence against her and against Tamy.
Some years ago she managed to divorce him. In order to get the divorce papers (the "Get") she gave up everything, the house she jointly owned, no alimony for her nor for the children and she also took all of her husband's debts on herself.
As head of a one parent family she had a difficult time. After the last violence related hospitalization, she was left with limited movement and post traumatic. She was given some social security money, but as she was not able to pay back her husbands debts (the ones she had taken upon herself in order to get the divorce) she got more and more needy, and deeper into debts.
She tried to spend as little as possible, but growing children need food, clothes, books, school fees etc.
Her debts became very deep. At the same time, due to her physical and mental problems, it became difficult to work.
Yet her social security was taken from her. And After that her rent aid.
She's penniless, with impossible debts, not the result of over spending, but of taking on her violent husband's debts, buying food and clothing for her kids.
Over the last Several weeks the court and municipal services have taken away almost everything she owned. TV, video, Tamy's computer, the furniture. the house is now almost empty. There is nothing to take. They do so in a completely legal way. After all, Tamy's mum doesn't pay her debts and she owes a lot of money.
Yet today those legal robbers came once more, and robbed some more. Now the house truly is almost empty.
Last week the water and gaz were cut off.

Tamy talks about killing herself.
Her mother is considering the same.
Tamy, and i know her quite well, might also turn to robbery, or stealing. She has nothing to loose, she feels.
Tamy and her mother are not criminals.
Poverty is a form of violence against these two women. Tamy is only 18 years old.


Anonymous said...

The very sad story of girls like Tamy is regrettfully common around the world

However on the positive - Tamy is only 18 years old and many girls of her age are entering the IDF where they get an allowance and training in various fields.Tamy can also voluneer for national service Sherut Leumi/Shant Sherut .

And for those young Arab men and women - they too can volunteer for National Youth Service in Israel!!!

yudit said...

Being a school drop out and being unable to read and write, Tamy was refused both for army service and sherut leumi.
For the same reasons she is not eligible for vocational training through the labor exchange.
Thus her future is not so rosy. She trying to learn reading and writing, which is why her computer was so important for her.

Anonymous said...

yudit said... "Being a school drop out and being unable to read and write, Tamy was refused both for army service and sherut leumi."

Unable to read and write at all? how about the ORT school in Tel Aviv ?There must be some free adult literacy classes being held in Jaffa/Tel Aviv area by Jewish Agency or university or someone?

There are so many charities in Israel helping kids ... I'm just looking at this webpage listing some of them:

Andre said...


Do you have an email? I'm a brazilian imigrant in Israel and I am passionate about Yafo and I have few questions regarding the city and maybe you are the person to who I can ask some questions knowing that I will receive answers free of prejudice. :-)

yudit said...

sure, contact me at

yudit said...

An answer to the other "anonymous":
The point is, Tamy is studying at the Jaffa "Women's Court" and with the help of a volunteer lawyer she's been able to get her computer back, but no program, how ever good, can give her back her peace of mind, when the door of her house is broken (by the legal robbers, who visited her 3 times within one month) beyond repair. In order to sleep quietly she and her mother put a chair against the door every night, so they will hear if someone tries to enter.

The OTHER point is, that the social support and educational system have failed Tamy for so many years (and are failing her again and again) that she has lost all of her belief.

These failures are unforgiveable, because they could have been prevented, more than that, they can be prevented also today.
But they are not. Tamy continues to be hunted by the system, (well her mother is, but Tamy and her mother live together).
There are arrest warrants for her mother because of her debts.
When the police come to arrest her, and see her conditions, they usually don't take her with them. Instead they give her a warning that she must take care of her debts within X days.
Believe me, if she could, she would.
But she can't.

With the help of a wonderful lawyer from the "sioua mishpati" (legal aid) she's trying to go bankrupt, in order to stop the devil's dance around her.

But it takes a very long time, during which the hunt continues.

Tamy's story is one of many, the reason i selected to write about her, is in order to show the effect of poverty on people, poverty which could have been prevented if the juridical system had worked better.

Tamy's mother never went on a spending spree, she sunk into poverty slowly over the years, instead of being very careful with the little money she has.
The cuts in welfare payments and the lack of social assistance implies that they go hungry now and than.
Perhaps i shouldn't write it here, but i suspect Tamy now and then removes some food from the supermarket without paying for it.
And i do not blame her. I hope she won't be caught.

The true crime has been committed by "the system", which allows such a form of injustice.

Yes there are food kitchens, but you need to take a bus to go there.
There is also a food handout ("pithon lev") in Rishon leZion, to which Tamy goes once in a while, according to her allotment. But the public transport going there (2 buses each direction) isn't always available.
It helps. but it doesn't SOLVE the problem.

There are many Tamy's and they are all victims.
Kids worrying about food instead of how to win the next football match or what to wear to friday's party.

The point i am trying to make is that these problems are preventable and food kitchens and adult reading classes are not the answer. they are mere plasters on a social cancer.

a sane voice in a mad world said...

incredibly cruel and stupid,

these laws, I mean.