New Israel immigrants ready to join IDF 370.
(photo credit: Shahar Azran)
One year after the mass social justice protests swept through the nation and
despite various steps taken by the government to ease economic hardships, a
nonprofit organization working with families struggling financially reported on
Tuesday a sharp increase in those looking for advice and support.
last summer, I think people really began to assess their own living situation
and many people felt it was no longer embarrassing to admit that they were
struggling financially,” commented Tali Hayat, deputy director of NGO Pa’amonim
told The Jerusalem Post in an exclusive interview.
Hayat said that the
charity, which relies on a network of more than 2,000 volunteers countrywide
that act as financial advisors or mentors to struggling families, has received
more calls for help than ever before in its 10 year existence.
so many people who have turned to us,” she said. “Many are young families, who
are in a more precarious situation than their parents’ generation because
nothing in their future is certain.”
According to Hayat, over the past
year more than 7,000 families have joined the organization receiving personal
mentors or participating in a group workshop.
That is compared to 4,500
families the previous year.
She also pointed out that the desperate
actions earlier this summer of Haifa resident Moshe Silman, who set himself on
fire in act of protest over state measures that led him to economic ruin, also
prompted panic among some families.
“People really began to feel a lack
of stability in their lives and we received many calls from small business
owners in distress,” said Hayat, adding that the organization is also expecting
a surge of new families in need of advice following the forthcoming high
“Always after the religious festivals we see an increase in new
people looking for help but this year we anticipate a huge rise,” she said,
highlighting that despite some steps taken by the government – such as free
education starting at age three and increasing competition in the cellphone
market – most families are still not seeing an ease on their
“Of course we think that the government needs to take more
responsibility for helping the poor, but we also like to encourage families to
take responsibility for their own finances,” she said.
As a result of the
surge, Pa’amonim is now in desperate need of new volunteers, who receive a
6-week training course and guidance from more veteran volunteers, to work with
the families. And, she said, the organization would like volunteers speaking
different languages to help the immigrant community too.
olim are not immune to financial hardships, said Hayat. For many, economic
troubles start a few years after making aliya, when they no longer have the
financial benefits of new immigrants and face limited employment options.