Between 2005 and 2007, Israel produced more millionaires per capita than any other country, although the rate has since slowed. Israel now has 5,900 people with at least $1 million in liquid financial assets.
While this is a testament to Israel’s economic growth over the past decade, the fruits of this growth have not been equally shared amongst the country’s rapidly growing population. In this same period, basic social arrangements were undermined, leaving behind Israel’s most vulnerable communities.
Did you know?
Poverty in Israel is more widespread than in any of the 32 OECD countries. Almost one in five Israelis (20%) lives in poverty on the OECD benchmark measure: they live in households with income less than half of the national median. With almost half of all children starting primary school belonging to these groups, there is an urgent need to tackle the causes of this poverty and urban decay.
In addition, there is demonstrated discrimination along ethnic lines with respect to Arab Israelis, Ethiopians, Mizrahim and other groups. Indeed, they as well as the disabled and elderly Holocaust survivors often have great difficulty accessing the services that they need.
Many organizations provide charity to the chronically underprivileged sectors of Israeli society. But New Israel Fund of Canada (NIFC) focuses on the root causes of poverty and injustice by giving a voice to the voiceless and by building and strengthening social justice organizations that focus on the societal issues that perpetuate the cycle of poverty.
From the Galil to the Negev, and from urban centers to isolated development towns, we are assisting single parents, the elderly, new immigrants, and women to make their case, and improve their status.
Our 2014 Social and Economic Justice projects include:
Adva Center: Public Education for Access to Social and Economic Rights
Social Economic Academy: Outreach to Disadvantaged Citizens in the North and South
SHATIL: Leadership for a Shared Society
Baladna: Combating Violence Among Arab Youth
Shaharit: Nurturing Community Leadership in Common Cause
New Israel Fund of Canada Social Justice Fellow
SHATIL: Strengthening Israel’s Non-Profit Sector
Our work makes a difference.
In four of the schools that Baladna: Combating Violence Among Arab Youth works with, students formed committees with leaders who took responsibility for working against violence. In one of the schools, the committee initiated an anti-violence contract that was signed by all of the students and school staff. In another school, the steering committee organized a meeting for dialogue between students and school staff about finding alternative ways to respond to conflict.
Now in its fourth cycle, the Integrated Leadership Training in the Field of Disabilities course is held in partnership with SHATIL and the David Yellin Teacher’s College. The course brings together physically, emotionally, or mentally disabled people and special education students, training them to become activists. This year, five participants are working on an initiative called “To see the Person,” aimed at getting employers to see an individual job applicant beyond his or her disability. They plan to accomplish this through a documentary film to be produced by Sapir College film students.
SHATIL’s participants of the Leadership of Shared Society program have supported each other through the crisis of this past summer. Even though they were on recess, the participants remained in close touch, recruiting each other to participate in joint Jewish-Arab activities such as a communal meal to break the fast for Ramadan and the 17th of Tammuz, with many more meetings planned. This spontaneous cooperation and initiative-taking demonstrates the importance of cultivating and equipping new leaders for change.