Can Messianic humanitarian organizations aid Israelis as budget is slashed by $1.2 billion?
Believing humanitarian aid organizations in the land of Israel – which help both believers and unbelievers alike – have long supplied food, clothing, baby supplies, military equipment, furniture, paper goods, dental care, career training, home purchase assistance, child care, community assistance, forestry plantings and much more.
In fact, governmental officials have officially recognized a number of these organizations for their generous help and for the vital role they play in supporting the community. This vast array of assistance is well-known by top Israeli officials and government entities.
But the Israeli cabinet, in the face of a growing fiscal deficit, recently decided to cut its welfare budget by 1.2 billion shekels ($334 million) and will increasingly rely on NGOs and these believing organizations to ramp up aid to Israelis who will be severely impacted by these cuts.
These measures, which are expected to reduce the deficit to 3.7 percent by the end of 2022, were implemented in order to divert money to rebuild neighborhoods destroyed by recent devastating fires, to beef up security on the Gaza border and to cover subsidies for day care programs.
But the impact of this decision will, undoubtedly, be felt across a multitude of sectors, mostly by senior citizens living below the poverty line. Ultimately, the huge cuts will hurt many Israeli citizens.
Moshe Schapiro, CEO of charitable organizations in Canada, wrote in Globes that this underfunding of social services will cause the government to increasingly depend on philanthropy and will stress the organizations.
“There is nothing rational or ethical about this system, which forces NGOs to devote a large portion of their limited resources to fund-raising,” Schapiro wrote. “It impacts their ability to most effectively carry out their primary function as providers of professional public services. The real victims of this circumstance are the intended beneficiaries of these services.”
This is the time for Messianic and Christian humanitarian organizations to pick up the slack.
These organizations, largely funded by Zionist Christians outside of Israel, are focused on blessing the people and the land simply because they are commanded to do so in the scriptures. There is no hidden agenda of evangelizing in return for goods. To the contrary, some of these organizations have adopted a strict policy to make sure no strings are attached whenever charitable gifts or acts are made.
Kehila News Israel (KNI) has written extensively on several of these believing organizations. For example, the Joseph Project which has provided $100 million in humanitarian aid to the needy in Israel since 2000, importing tons of supplies and Vision for Israel, another large distribution center providing humanitarian aid to poor and needy Israelis, both Jewish and Arab.
Several Messianic organizations have established soup kitchens such as Abundant Bread of Salvation in Netanya, which also has a soup kitchen and clothing distribution plus provides medical, optical and dental assistance to the poor, and the Dugit center in Tel Aviv that has a Distribution Pantry as well. Some of these soup kitchens provide the only meal that a person may have that day.
The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has assisted in bringing home Ethiopian Jews who wish to immigrate to the country. The organization has sponsored this program through the help of international Christians who believe in the prophetic promises of the return the Jewish people to their homeland. For them, they are playing a role in this end-time regathering of the exiles.
Several organizations supply the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) with items the soldiers need but have not been allocated in the military budget. Soldiers are so grateful for these personal supplies not supplied by the government but which make their jobs easier.
Many organizations have donated furniture, clothing and other goods to any Israeli citizen unable to afford these things.
Holocaust survivors have been recipients of many of these goods and services, annually receiving special holiday food and other necessary items.
This is a wonderful opportunity to work together in a practical and useful way to bless Israelis and the nation at a time when it most needs help. Many government officials know that the Christian community outside of Israel shows their true friendship not just in word, but in deed, and through their generous financial gifts. Israeli leaders have often publicly expressed their gratitude for such help.
Increased support at this crucial time would help to cushion the loss of such a large amount of government services and subsidies given to Israelis. Those who want to join this effort, can contact KNI to see how they can help Israel.
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Chava Stein, the granddaughter of Jewish European immigrants to the U.S., made Aliyah to Israel in 1993. Married to an Israeli, they live in the center of the country.