While NGOs have been tirelessly working to assist the people in the South suffering from the barrage of rocket fire, the Social Services and Welfare Ministry has also launched numerous initiatives to help the underprivileged and disabled populations.
As part of its efforts, the ministry transferred supplementary budgets totaling some NIS 5 million to local municipalities in the South. In addition, in collaboration between Welfare Minister Meir Cohen and MK Ofer Shelah (Yesh Atid), an additional NIS 2 million allocated from 2013 reserves, were transferred to assist people with intellectual disabilities living in the South. Of these funds, NIS 1 million was transferred to community centers and another NIS 1 million spent on retreats for this population group as well as for children with intellectual disabilities living at home.
The Welfare Ministry also expanded its emergency hotline and opened a 24-hour telephone hotline in Hebrew, Arabic and Russian for the blind at *9366. In addition, the ministry has employed action teams traveling throughout the South to assist disabled and elderly residents and social workers have continued to conduct home visits for the disabled.