Towards the end of 2015, WAC-MAAN came across a new problem in representing job-seekers vis-a-vis the Employment Bureau in East Jerusalem: job-seekers who were referred to a job by the Bureau and turned down by the employer were then registered as “refusing work”, which led to their benefits being curtailed. With WAC-MAAN’s assistance, they submitted appeals, but were not invited to attend an appeal committee for a long time. According to the Bureau’s operational protocols, they are supposed to be summoned within 60 days of the appeal being submitted, but in 2016 WAC-MAAN had 30 appeal cases that had waited to be summoned for long periods, some waited an entire year.
WAC-MAAN Atty. Aya Bartenstein had been in touch with Atty. Emanuel Weil from the legal office of the Employment Bureau on many cases, and in 2016 she directed his attention to the new issue. Atty. Weil promised to deal with the issue and requested a list of the job-seekers who had not yet been summoned, which Bartenstein sent immediately (though the Bureau, including Weil, had been contacted various times in the past regarding every one of the 30 cases on the list).
The Bureau’s response was to declare war on WAC-MAAN: Weil notified us in writing that WAC-MAAN was not authorized to represent job-seekers at the appeal committees or at all, and that the Bureau refused to have any contact with WAC-MAAN. He also said he had submitted a complaint against the organization with the Israel Bar Association for “operating beyond its professional field”. Moreover, he demanded that the job-seekers submit appeals themselves, within 30 days, otherwise they would not be summoned to the appeal committee.
Weil did indeed submit the complaint to the Israel Bar Association. However, on 17 Aug. 2016, the Association confirmed that WAC-MAAN is authorized to represent job-seekers vis-a-vis the Employment Bureau, and even noted (so called against the interest of the Bar Association) that this was to be desired.
In the meantime, WAC-MAAN instructed the job-seekers to submit the appeals again by themselves, in order to avoid any risk. Many have already been summoned to an appeal committee; some of the appeals have been accepted, while others whose appeals were rejected or who were not summoned are submitting appeals to the labor Court with WAC-MAAN’s assistance.