February 12, 2015
Dear Friend of Israel,
The statistics are appalling. An annual poverty report in Israel recently revealed that a quarter of Israeli children went to sleep hungry at least a few times per month throughout 2014, that 65 percent of impoverished parents were forced to do without medicine or medical treatments for their children at some point over the past year, and that 56 percent of impoverished elderly suffer from poor nutrition because they are unable to afford basic food. These are just some of the disturbing results from this report.
We at The Fellowship, thanks to the faithful generosity of friends like you, have been fighting this widespread poverty in Israel for years. While we know we are making a lifesaving difference in the lives of countless children, elderly, and families, we also know that the needs persist. And these statistics have forced us to see that the needs are much greater than what The Fellowship alone can alleviate.
This realization prompted us to galvanize the efforts of the nonprofit sector in Israel, rallying us to unify our efforts to defeat poverty and ensure that Israel’s weakest populations will be guaranteed a life of dignity with the ability to obtain all basic necessities. To this end, The Fellowship joined with a dozen of the top nonprofits in Israel and drafted a policy paper that acknowledges the huge need and calls for a unified and concerted effort to fight it. I’m proud to report that that document has now been signed by at least 60 major organizations in Israel.
This document outlines different ways to fight poverty, both in the long-term and short-term, and indicates which ministries should be doing what. It calls for the establishment of a National Anti-Poverty Authority, which will coordinate the battle against poverty. It addresses housing prices, access to education, subsistence benefits, health care, and many other areas that need our unified and unrelenting attention. And this document will be presented to Israeli politicians with the goal of coordinating their vital role in tackling poverty and spurring some needed social reform.
We are working toward long-term strategic change so there will be less poverty in Israel, and while this road will not be easy and solutions will by no means come quickly, I am certain that this is a fight we must undertake. The Fellowship is not a political organization, we are a humanitarian organization – but we seek to be a leading force of justice in Israel. Surely this is the role God, who calls us “to act justly and to love mercy” (Micah 6:8), requires of us.
I ask for your prayers for this important effort, friends. And I offer my heartfelt gratitude – because we would not be able to embark on this mission without your faithful support of Israel. I pray you will be blessed even as you are abundantly blessing God’s children.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein