JERUSALEM – Israel’s Ministry of Welfare has decided to allocate more than $60 million over the next three years for aid to families and individuals living in poverty.
The money, part of a national initiative for food security launched in 2017, is earmarked to help Holocaust survivors and senior citizens, among others.
The economic shutdowns forced by the COVID-19 pandemic hit many Israelis hard, severely increasing the economic pressures of Jews and Arabs who were already living day-to-day.
According to the most recent report by the Israeli charity organization Latet, more than 2.5 million Israelis from 932,000 households live in poverty, including more than a million children.
In 2021, 233,000 Israeli households were added to the list.
Even as the pandemic recedes and Israelis are getting back to work, soaring global inflation is driving up the cost of living in Israel, as elsewhere.
The newly-approved assistance is intended for people who are already receiving services from their local welfare department. It will expand the options available, making it easier for them to receive the help they need quickly and efficiently, by providing food and necessities, medical needs, housing and basic electrical appliances, basic furniture and clothing.
The money will be administered following an application process through the welfare department, which will then issue a digital or hardcopy voucher to eligible recipients.
“This is another big step in a series of advancements and programs to cope with poverty and need,” said Israeli Welfare Minister Meir Cohen. “The cost of living makes it difficult for the whole population but especially families already living in poverty. Our commitment is to decrease, as much as possible, the effect on needy families and individuals that are very sensitive to every increase in prices, especially senior citizens and Holocaust survivors, single parents, and people in social distress. We will soon feel the influence of these recent developments.”
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) also participated in the project.
IFCJ is an Orthodox Jewish-led organization founded in Chicago in 1983 that raises money mostly from pro-Israel Christian donors in the United States to provide humanitarian relief to the poor and needy in Israel.
In 2019, according to the most recent data available, IFCJ raised more than $118 million.
The Israeli government will provide 72% of the funding, while IFCJ and other Orthodox Jewish individuals and groups – including Colel Chabad and Blavatnik Food Bank – will raise and invest the rest, according to a report in the Jerusalem Post.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.