Glad tidings of Israel's hi-tech boom and miraculous economic advancements have not meant good will for all men. In the promised land of milk and honey, one in four Israelis still live in poverty according to last week’s report by the National Social Security Institute.
With more than 400,000 families falling below the poverty line, Israel has the second-highest poverty rate in the developed world, behind only Mexico, according to statistics from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD.
The Israeli government defines poverty as a family or individual who has an annual income of less than $9,500. Incredibly, one in every five Israeli families somehow manage to live on a mere $791 a month. By comparison, an American family of four is considered poor when their annual income is below $23,283.
It was these kind of economic hardships that drove hundreds of thousands of Israelis to the streets in protest two years ago. The severe socio-economic inequalities in Israel became a key factor in last year’s election, but sadly little has been done to relieve the extreme poverty of so many families struggling to make ends meet. More strikes and protests are now brewing and will surely be putting even more heat on Netanyahu’s fragile government.
Since the government is either unable or unwilling to help, new nonprofit organizations have spouted up initiating programs to support poor families. Many are run by the Haredim (Orthodox Jewish) and some Christian organizations as well are increasing support for the poor in Zion. But much more needs to be done.
Poor families have been hardest hit by the recent storms and ongoing frigid temperatures of Israel’s coldest winter in living history. What a great opportunity for believers around the world to share a little warmth and love with a needy family in Israel for the Holiday Season.
Would you be able to help a needy family? Here at Beit Immanuel we are caring for a number of families that need your help. Please go to our secure online website and share the love by clicking here.