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Does Israel Really Need Our Help?

March 1, 2017
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Occasionally we get letters from our friends asking if Israel really needs our help. Since Israel is a first-world country, producing so much high-tech and technological breakthroughs, how can they possibly have a poverty problem—they question. They are absolutely right; Israel is blessed as a nation. The high level of ingenuity is amazing. We are blessed to see how God has brought the Jewish people home to their Promised Land and has established them and raised them from nothing to a prosperous nation in just 69 years. At the same time Israel has a high poverty rate. Roughly one quarter of Israelis live in poverty. How can this be? Let me share a couple of reasons.

Why is there poverty in Israel?

First, Israel has great security needs. News of incursions, missile fire and terror attacks are a regular part of the landscape here. The day I wrote this letter, four rockets were fired into southern Israel from Egypt and one from Syria in the north. Israel has never known the luxury of peace. This requires her to maintain a large army and to spend a large portion of the budget on military and security needs. As a result, taxes are high, meaning people have to live on a much smaller piece of their income than most in the developed world.

Second, Israel absorbs large numbers of Jewish immigrants each year. Most of them need help for a few years. Those who come from South America, India, Ukraine, Russia and countries which were once part of the former Soviet Union, usually arrive with very little. They come with a couple of suitcases, fragile hopes and no cash reserves. They don’t speak Hebrew. Often they have to retrain in professions before they are able to work in Israel. The retraining programs are wonderful, but are taught in Hebrew. Medical practitioners (doctors, nurses, dentists) must obtain Israeli licenses before they can practice in Israel. This process can take years. In the meantime, they have to eat, pay rent, school fees for their children, transportation costs, etc. They may get a minimum wage job which does not require language skills; they may receive a small welfare check from the government; they may save on costs by sharing a small apartment with another family; but they will struggle.

A large number of those we help through our food programs are immigrants. They will succeed in this amazing country—but first they need a lot of assistance. Generally it takes a few years before they are truly absorbed into the society. In addition to our food program we also help Jewish people return home through our Project Rescue and when they arrive, we help them adjust to life in Israel through the Adoption Program, the Feed a Child program, the New Immigrant Fund and the Immigant Welcome Gifts program. We feel privileged to be able to help these precious souls that God is bringing home.

Baruch and Rivka made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) in the spring of 2016. They had a good life in the Ukraine; Baruch was the office manager at their synagogue and Rivka was a teacher in the Jewish school. They both enjoyed what they did very much. They came to Israel because Baruch has kidney failure but because of the war, they left Ukraine without anything. Their house and car were left behind and could not even be sold.

Here in Israel, their biggest concern is Baruch’s health. He cannot work and is on disability. They both studied in an ulpan (Hebrew language school), but eventually, Rivka had to quit so she could care for her husband.

Although life is not easy for Baruch and Rivka, they love life in Israel. They love the relationships and attitudes of the people in Israel. Their biggest dream is for Baruch to have a successful kidney replacement and be well just like before. They also want to be fluent in Hebrew, get good jobs and settle well in Jerusalem. They are still searching for a community that they can feel attached to and truly apart of; a good community life is important for their family. They loved to go fishing and dream of doing that in Israel. Baruch and Rivka appreciate prayers from their Christian sponsors from all over the world. Please pray for them as they settle in their homeland. Pray for God’s healing hands upon Baruch and their finances.

Yes! Israel Needs Our Help

So, the answer is yes, Israel needs us! Immigrants like Baruch and Rivka count on us each month. Providing food for new immigrants is one way we can show the people of Israel that they are not alone. Every action we do to bless them is an act of love to the God of Israel. We recognize His hand at work in restoring Israel, bringing the Jewish people home and revealing His nature to the world. What a privilege to partner with Him in the days when He is fulfilling His prophetic promises to the nation and people of Israel.

Please join us in feeding the people of Israel. Your gift makes it possible for us to provide food to more than 22,000 people each month, the majority of them new immigrants.
Blessings from Israel,
Rebecca J. Brimmer
International President and CEO


Photo Credit: Isranet