Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein in Ethiopia.
(photo credit:Ruth Eglash)
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews announced this week the
launch of a large aid operation aimed at assisting the elderly in Israel, an
initiative that will cost the organization NIS 100 million a year, amounting to
some NIS 1 billion over the next decade.
The operation, which officially
begins on August 15, will provide solutions for the needy elderly in terms of
food, medicine, housing and battling loneliness.
The program will be
gradually implemented in 50 municipalities across the country and will serve
some 35,000 seniors.
It will be managed in close cooperation with local
authorities, which will be responsible for contacting beneficiaries and
monitoring the supplies of aid in coordination with local social services
In the first year, 10 municipalities will participate in the
program. A total of 5,500 seniors will receive food vouchers worth about NIS 180
a month, cold dishes worth approximately NIS 420 a month and other food
In terms of medical expenses, seniors will get vouchers of
about NIS 140 a month to purchase prescription drugs and will receive medical
assistance through the fellowship’s fund.
In addition, heating grants
will be distributed to about 17,000 seniors across the country for the winter
The fellowship and local authorities will also be recruiting and
training some 100 volunteers to keep some 600 elderly company, in order to
The organization will also conduct public campaigns
calling for the public, the business community and philanthropic funds to
contribute to creating accessible social clubs for the elderly.
elderly community in Israel is the most vulnerable, as it faces severe problems
of poverty and social isolation,” president of the fellowship Rabbi Yechiel
Eckstein said. “Accordingly, we decided to spend much of our resources to
benefit the elderly, so they can live the rest of their lives with
“Society must also mobilize and bring about a change in
attitudes toward the elderly population in Israel. Their struggle is our
struggle. The way that we treat the elderly in our country today will determine
how we will be treated when we become the needy ones.”
800,000 elderly people live in Israel, 192,000 of whom are Holocaust
According to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics and
the National Insurance Institute, since the end of 2010 there have been about
254,000 people aged 65 or more registered with social services departments, and
about 190,000 elderly people were without sources of income other than their
old-age pension and income supplements.
The CBS figures also showed that
about 14 percent of seniors have given up on health services due to their high
In addition, a survey conducted by the fellowship in 2012 found
that 24% of elderly citizens are forced to give up food or medicine in order to
cover the costs of electricity during the winter months.
Relevant to your professional network? Please share on Linkedin