Man stages hunger strike over benefits cut

April 6, 2012 at 5:10 PM
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JERUSALEM, April 6 (UPI) -- An Israeli man has vowed to stay on a hunger strike over a cut in government benefits he and his ex-wife had been receiving.

Koby Sarusy, 46, is protesting a National Insurance Institute decision to lower his monthly benefits that he and his ex-wife, Anat, used to support their five children, The Jerusalem Post reported Thursday.

Sarusy said he will stage a hunger strike outside the prime minister's residence until his and his wife's monthly benefit of $1,469 is raised to $4,006, what it was before it was cut.

The cut, he said, made it difficult for him to pay his bills and he fell into debt. Sarusy said he has diabetes and had a heart attack last month.

"I don't want presents," Sarusy said. "I want a loan so I can pay my debts and work again."

A spokesman for the NII said the couple had been receiving the former rate because they were claiming they lived separately but in May 2009 they married or moved in together, so their payment was lowered.

"The prime minister knows I'm here but no one cares. How can he see someone on a hunger strike and not do anything?" Sarusy said. "My body is weak but my soul is strong. I will continue until the end."

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