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Issues of the Day Yedid, Israeli Community Empowerment Organization Struggling to Survive
 

I recently received a troubling letter from Sari Revkin, the executive director of the Israeli public service and advocacy organization, Yedid. Yedid "empowers low-income and vulnerable Israelis to break the cycle of poverty and reach self-sufficiency by accessing their rights and economic opportunities."  


The letter described grim tidings relating to Yedid and other groups fighting on the front line of on behalf of Israel's disenfranchised population, across all sectors of the society.


In her letter Sari writes “since the economic crisis that besieged the world in 2008, we have found it increasingly more difficult to raise the funds we did in the past...As a consequence of the economic realities and in an effort to minimize the impact on the populations in need that we serve, we made a bold decision in 2009 to reduce the expenses of an already bare bones budget without compromising the scope of our activity. We understood that precisely during the economic crisis, our assistance was more crucial than at any other time, but we felt that we had to be as prudent as possible to avoid the fate of so many other NGOs, which had to close their doors entirely.”


What Sari then relates in the letter sounds alarm bells:


Unfortunately, it has become clear that even the skeleton staff with which we have been working until now cannot be maintained, and our leadership feels that despite an increase in Israeli donations and stepped up efforts abroad, it is imperative that we take necessary, but painful steps to avoid a serious deficit. It is with great sadness that I inform you that we are forced to completely shut down our Citizen Rights Centers in Dimona, Ofakim, Haifa, Ashkelon, Sderot and Kiryat Shmona.  At the same time, we are reducing the activities in our remaining Centers, slashing additional staff, and reducing salaries.”


At a time when the social gap in Israel continues to grow and the disempowered fall further behind, I urge others to join me in supporting Yedid and other social action organizations striving to strengthen Israeli society where it is most vulnerable.


To offer support for Yedid, contact: http://www.yedid.org.il/donate.


© Yosef Gotlieb, . All rights reserved