There’s a shocking phenomenon in Israel that most people don’t know about. It was recently reported that a whopping 25,000 children live on the streets of Israel. Such was the headline of Yediot Ahronot, Israel’s leading Hebrew newspaper, as they reported the story under the headline of “No One’s Children,” (Sept. 12, 2022)
The statistics are a huge wake-up call to Israel, which generally speaking, overwhelmingly reveres family and children. How is it possible that these numbers exist, without most of the population even being aware of the disastrous situation?
A number of organizations are involved helping youth in crisis, including the Elem Association, which helps thousands of children each year with counseling and shelter. Elem reports that many of these youth come from homes where they are exposed to physical or verbal violence, sexual abuse and other traumatic situations.
It’s important to note that these children reflect families from both the Israeli Jewish and Arab sectors. A surprisingly higher percentage of homeless children, 28%, previously studied in ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools. One possible reason that teenagers from ultra-Orthodox families are now living on the streets is they made the choice to leave their religion, a decision which is often met with uncontrollable anger by parents and great shame heaped upon the child.
Bible scripture tells us that we are not to be indifferent to the plight of the poor. In fact, there is a promise for those who show compassion on them, “Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble, the Lord delivers him.” (Psalm 41:1)
Likewise, in the New Testament, James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
Israel is called to be a light to the nations. Now that this terrible story has been uncovered, please pray that non-profit organizations, including Christian/Messianic ministries, as well as Israeli Social Services will endeavor to locate these youth in order to come up with a viable plan to help them get off the streets and find a way to safely return them to society.
Joseph Magen is Co-Founder and Managing Editor of ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. He has more than 20 years of experience in high-tech, software development, and the Israeli venture capital industry. Joseph lives in the Judean Hills outside of Jerusalem with his wife and five young children.