French Olim communities are often unaware of the social services available to them in Israel and have trouble accessing those services due to language or other barriers. By way of example the official Ministry of Absorption website is available only in Hebrew, despite it being used exclusively by new immigrants, most of whom do not speak Hebrew. 

To help Anglo-American and French olim integrate in Israeli society, our incubee Jewish Family Services Israel (JFS) provides a wide range of vital social services including community outreach and consultation, counselling, disability services, hospice services and resettlement services. 

French immigration to Israel faltering due to integration failure

A French professor of sociology of religion and politics who immigrated to Israel says that the influx of French Jews is on the decline, spurred in part by the failure of many to successfully integrate in Israeli society; he argues that identity is a large reason why.

Time to rethink Jewish charities?

In his recent resignation letter, Jewish Leadership Council Chairman, Sir Mick Davis called the current communal architecture not fit for purpose, with too many charities competing for funding. Sir Mick's critique is not new; many of us have been aware of the problem for decades.

When politics gets in the way of Jewish giving

NEW YORK (JTA) - Lisa Greer didn't think twice when she used her cellphone to donate to IfNotNow, a Jewish organization that protests Israel's West Bank occupation. Greer and her husband, Joshua, had given millions to progressive Jewish and Israel causes, and she sits on the board of the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles.

Jewish Donors Are Looking For A Progressive Alternative To Jewish Federations

Donor-advised funds affiliated with Jewish federations give a collective $1 billion per year, according to the Jewish Federations of North America. Of those gifts, relatively few are rejected — but red lines surrounding donor-advised gifts remain unclear. Increasingly, Jewish donors are looking for a more progressive home for their philanthropy.

HaYoreh employs the hi-tech accelerator/incubator model and techniques pioneered by venture capitalist firms to enhance the impact of every donated dollar and provide donors with an alternative to the ossified and bureaucratic Federations.

When Israel Politics Gets In The Way Of Jewish Charitable Giving

NEW YORK - Lisa Greer didn't think twice when she used her cellphone to donate to IfNotNow, a Jewish organization that protests Israel's West Bank occupation. Greer and her husband, Joshua, had given millions to progressive Jewish and Israel causes, and she sits on the board of the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles....

Being 'Homeless' or 'Roofless' in Israel

It has been over a year since the Social Affairs Ministry released the largest study produced for 15 years into homelessness in Israel.[1] At the time, the figures stood at an estimated 2,300 homeless individuals, with only 1,300 of them actually recognised as homeless due to the limited definition of the term.[2] According to the Ministry’s definition, there is a difference between being a street resident i.e. living on the streets and being ‘temporarily homeless’, or roofless.[3]

This means that those not classed as street residents or dwellers (who are dealt with by the Social Affairs Ministry), but roofless, for example young people, the elderly, those released from prison and families, struggle to access support and services from the separate Health, Social Affairs, and Housing Ministries which don’t have a unified strategy. Therefore not only is there no coordinated response, this lack of collaboration “makes it difficult to develop a policy of preliminary prevention.”[4]

So how has this crisis arisen and what does it mean for those not defined as street dwellers?

To understand this we need to see the bigger context of Israel where poverty affects millions of Israelis every day, defining their lives and ability to flourish. While it is undeniable that Israel is doing well economically on many accounts[5], according to a study by the Taub Centre[6] the problem is that the wealth, although accumulated by taxes, is not trickling down to those who live in poverty. This is supported by a Bank of Israel report in 2015[7] that stated that ‘when we measure poverty in net terms – in other words, disposable income after government intervention – Israel is in the second-worst place [out of the OECD members]: Only Mexico is poorer.’ 

Essentially the system of allowances to reduce poverty is stingy in Israel, and this creates a situation where the government’s influence when it comes to curtailing poverty is 30% – as compared to 60% in other developed countries. In other words, Israel’s assistance to its poor is half that of the OECD countries.[8]

The housing market in Israel further compounds this situation today. There is a lack of public housing stock due to a right to buy scheme for long term residents with a 90% discount. The government is struggling to find suitable accommodation for those in need, in an environment where rental prices are also increasingly unaffordable for large numbers of people. However, while rent prices have increased, the state is failing to increase subsidies to help those who find the shortfall between their income and their outgoings ever increasing. [9]

As a direct consequence of these factors, there are families, singles and elderly people (including Holocaust survivors)[10] who do not have a permanent roof over the heads, who rely on their family or friends, cramped into rooms, outhouses, tents or even their cars, despite having work and, often, full time jobs. For these families, failed by the State which does not recognise them as street dwellers and thus does not prioritise them for social housing, they must live day to day in poverty, without much recourse to support and only limited public funds.[11]

A year on from the Social Affairs Ministry report, it is hard to say much has changed or anything is being done by the State to tackle the daily crisis faced by thousands of families. And so, it is necessary that the nonprofit sector steps in to help give the support that is severely lacking. Our incubee Israel Homeless Association (IHA) helps professionals and families that have been made homeless due to the collapse of Israel's socio-economic safety net. IHA provides financial and legal assistance to those in crisis, helping to provide a safe, clean home for the long term. 

With the assistance of Members of the Knesset, IHA succeeded in relocating seven families living in a tent city in Beer Sheva subject to an evacuation order. There is still much work to be done as other families were forcibly removed, resulting in a woman’s suicide. For $5,000 IHA can house an entire family for a year and for $25,000 IHA can build a complete Family in Crisis Center for an entire community.

How to Make Jewish Philanthropy Go Further

Jewish leaders and philanthropists are currently engaged in an intense and crucial debate. There is growing concern that Jews, particularly the next generation, are disconnecting from their Jewish heritage and from the state of Israel. The now infamous Pew Study, titled "A Portrait of Jewish Americans," found that approximately two-thirds of American Jewish millennials do not feel a strong connection to Israel.

How can we help struggling Israeli nonprofits in a period of booming Jewish philanthropy?

ow can Israel’s emerging philanthropic community, the Diaspora philanthropists, and local nonprofits work together in more connected ways to effectively address the socio-economic challenges we face in Israel?

The answer can be found in Israel’s high-tech sector, where incubators and accelerators help start-ups and early-stage companies speed up their growth and success by. Based on this model, the Robin Hood Israel foundation developed its own incubator/accelerator for Jewish and Israeli nonprofits to guide nonprofits through the early stages of organizational development and enhance the impact of every donated dollar: HaYoreh (First Rains).

Read More

Top Israel VC Says Startup Nation Adds U.S. Economic Growth

Jon Medved, the Israeli venture capitalist who backed Shopping.com and built investment platform OurCrowd, says tightening technology ties with the Trump administration and allowing Israeli companies to continue to open branches in the U.S. will benefit both countries' economies. Medved said he hoped Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would put technology on the agenda when he meets Wednesday with U.S.

The effectiveness of large and institutionalized federations and nonprofit organizations is questionable. Today's society needs grassroots nonprofits that are nimble, niche and networked to create a more responsive safety net in Israel and beyond.

Nonprofits Should Aspire to Be "Nimble, Networked, and Niche"

Critical mass can be achieved in any number of ways, as has been proven over the last few weeks. Here, Tivoni Devor suggests that it's not only in the realm of advocacy where nonprofits should strive to be nimble, niched, and networked.

Online donations to Israel increase

Online donations to Israeli charities increased by some 14% this past year, according to a report released by Israel Gives, the leading website for charitable giving in the country. "Israeli nonprofit organizations, which traditionally relied on mega-donations from foundations and Jewish Federations, are now increasingly realizing the potential for fundraising from the general public," Yonatan Ben-Dor, co-founder and CEO of Israel Gives told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.