The citizens of the State of Israel have found themselves in a very difficult economic situation causing even the most optimistic people to feel discouraged. Many in Israel have dreamt of buying a small apartment by saving every shekel they can to provide for themselves and their family. However, today, many citizens are just struggling to meet the basic living expenses every month.
Since the Covid epidemic started in 2020, many lives have changed beyond recognition. Even workers who were in stable financial situations, have now found themselves in need. Some have returned to live in their parents’ homes. Others have left cities, like Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, due to the high cost of living and have moved to cities with more modest rents and lower costs of living.
Recently, the annual poverty report for 2021 came out and shared some interesting findings. According to the National Insurance's annual poverty report of 2021, approximately 854,000 children and 212,000 pensioners were living below the poverty line which rose due to the increase in median income. No wonder businesses have closed, unemployment rates have risen, and workers have been laid off or gone on sick leave. And where did that leave the nation? Israel is now trying to rehabilitate itself little by little.
Unfortunately, the highest increase in poverty was recorded among senior citizens: From 16.4% in 2020 to 17.6% in 2021. On the one hand, this could be caused by the cessation of special grants given in 2020, and on the other, it is due to senior citizens' small participation in the labor market.
Another alarming figure is that between 2020-2021 there was an increase in the depth of poverty in most population groups, especially among ultra-Orthodox and Arabs. Up to 80% of the citizens are living below the poverty line.
Families struggle to make ends meet and sometimes work several different jobs just to have something to feed their children. With increasing inflation, it is very likely that it will take a long time to eradicate the damage.
Yoav Ben Tzur, a minister in the Ministry of Labor, said: "We refuse to accept a reality in which senior citizens, children, and families live in poverty. This is a terrible thing that a reformed and moral society cannot accept. There are many ways to ensure an exit from poverty to a life with dignity and with the head held high. Diverse and adapted employment options for populations that need assistance are a necessary thing that will be promoted in the coming term in order to get out of the cycle of poverty, and we are currently working on a new plan for the benefit of all Israeli citizens."
Just imagine seeing an elderly person open an empty refrigerator or giving up buying medication in order to eat a hot meal. Imagine the stress and weight parents are enduring because they are drowning in expenses as they try to provide for their family. And imagine the lone soldiers who are scraping every shekel to provide for themselves.
Yet, against all odds, we have hope. We will march forward with all of our strength to build this nation up again with the generous backing of VFI donors, like you. Thank you for recognizing the critical need for continued action and increased support in fighting poverty here in Israel.
Moving forward in 2023, Vision for Israel will continue to expand the circle of the recipients of aid and support.
A Giving Hand
The principles of mutual guarantee, social responsibility, empathy, compassion, and concern for the needs of the weak population in society should hold great value in every society.
“You are not to twist justice for an outsider or orphan, and you are not to take as collateral a widow’s clothing. But you are to remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and Adonai your God redeemed you from there. Therefore I am commanding you to do this thing. “When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you are not to turn back to get it. It is for the outsider, for the orphan and for the widow—in order that Adonai your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.” - Deuteronomy 24:17-19
This verse explains the basis of the principles of generosity and giving that have existed since biblical times. When Vision for Israel was established, this mindset penetrated deeply into our minds and hearts. We understand what a blessing it is to give wholeheartedly without expecting anything in return. And our greatest reward for giving is seeing the smiles on the faces of our recipients.
Over the years, we have seen those in need giving their last pennies to help someone else in need. Locals contacted us because they wanted to give back to their community and volunteered by donating their time to pack food baskets, sort clothing, and more. This causes a chain reaction of small and large acts of generosity that connect us and encourages the weak to get through the most challenging times with dignity.
Indeed, it is better to give than to receive, and to our delight, we were given the opportunity during 2022 to continue supporting those in need.
VFI’s Impact in 2022:
- Supported more than 5,300 people
- Over 2,700 families received food baskets, gift cards, and warm duvets
- Helped over 1,100 victims of terrorism and hostilities
- Supported more than 900 Holocaust survivors
- Gave backpacks to more than 550 children
- Sent medical equipment to medical teams in Ukraine
- Donated 62 mobile shelters in conflict areas
- Provided 30 locking systems for mobile shelters
So, what else can be done with the growing percentage of citizens in poverty and distress? How does Vision for Israel commit to helping in 2023?
Vision for Israel’s Plan in 2023
Our goal at Vision for Israel is to reduce poverty and restore life in the State of Israel. We want to support those who have fallen into an economic crisis not only with physical giving, but also with a loving hug, a listening ear, and a better understanding of their situation.
Our hope is that at every encounter we can be a supportive shoulder to lean on. We want to remind those struggling with poverty that the struggle is temporary and that they are not alone. Together with us, they have the power to overcome this difficult situation.
The amount of requests for assistance to families and individuals is expanding and growing. References multiply. Our cooperation with other organizations is also expanding. At Vision for Israel, we serve those in need while emphasizing the importance of empowering, strengthening, restoring, and building up each individual person.
But what’s next? With the rising numbers of citizens living in distress, we find ourselves facing a new challenge.
At the moment, the loyal and dedicated team of Vision for Israel is very small and is struggling to manage the large number of requests for help. The demand continues to increase. This is why we have decided in 2023 to expand our team in order to give more and reach those on the margins of society that we haven't been able to serve yet. The more we grow, the more impact we will make in this nation.
Currently, we are able to provide aid to Holocaust survivors, the elderly, families in need, single mothers, victims of hostilities, lone soldiers, medical and disaster relief teams, and more! We also believe that with the additional help, we can give to even more all throughout the land of Israel.
It’s Not Enough to Say Thank You
This is a good opportunity for us to say to you — our generous donors and kind supporters — a huge thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Every time we distribute backpacks to children, dedicate a new shelter in the Gaza envelope, or hand out gift cards for the holidays, we remember you and your generous hearts. Imagine a Holocaust survivor sitting at home in the cold winter wrapped in a warm blanket and enjoying the warmth from a heater. Imagine a single mother putting food on the table for her kids. These little miracles and more were made possible because you decided to lend a helping hand that crossed borders and provided real hope to real people.
We don’t take it for granted that you decided, despite the economic challenges in these last years, to faithfully give with all of your heart. Your tremendous kindness gives us the strength to continue fighting for the poor in Israel. With every box of food we pick up, all of the long hours we wait in traffic on the way to distribute food, or in the daily grind — we are strengthened and encouraged knowing you are standing with us through it all. This inspires us to continue to support the weak in the nation of Israel.
Vision for Israel is honored to serve the State of Israel for more than 27 years now. And we will continue to do so in 2023 by supporting and providing help wherever possible.
We pray that the work of your hands will be blessed and that together we will see the families of Israel rise to their feet and overcome poverty!