chairty organization 311 R.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Five local branches of the social and economic empowerment organization Yedid are set to close their doors in the coming weeks after the non-profit organization announced Wednesday that it was facing a serious financial crisis in light of the global economic recession, which has seen many of its international donor sources dry up over the last three years.
“I am heartbroken and I feel powerless that we have to do this but if we are to make it to the end of this year without incurring a deficit then this is the only option,” commented Yedid’s General Manager Sari Revkin.
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Established in 1997, Yedid aims to promote social and economic justice through its network of Citizens' Rights Centers in underprivileged and marginalized communities throughout Israel.
It currently runs 22 branches across the country, which provide people living below the poverty line with essential information about their rights and benefits and also provides them legal advice.
According to information provided by the NGO, centers in Dimona, Sderot,
Ashkelon, Haifa and Kiryat Shmona will close at the end of June,
leaving those looking for services such as legal aid and social or
economic advice with no choice but to travel to centers in neighboring
Revkin said that Yedid clients from the cities where its branches are
closing have already been calling to ask where they can go to find help.
“A person who is forced to spend NIS30-50 in order to travel from where
they live to another city in order to obtain legal advice will likely
think twice about it and most probably turn down the opportunity for a
better future,” she said, adding that a growing number of NGOs were
facing similar financial crises but were “too ashamed” to talk about it
Revkin said the situation had gradually deteriorated since the onset of
the economic crisis and together with the [Bernie] Madoff Affair had
meant that large foundations and other sources had either closed their
doors completely or slashed their funding for projects in Israel. She
also said that government funding for the organization had been
drastically reduced over the last two years and the low exchange rate of
the dollar was another factor.
Previously funded by a collection of large US Jewish Federations and
private foundations, Yedid estimates that its funding has come up NIS 1
million short this year.
Earlier this month, employees were notified that their salaries would
also be cut and the NGO estimates that some 10,000 families that utilize
its services will be affected by the closure.
“Again and again residents of the periphery are hurt,” wrote the
organization in a press statement. “Not only that the economic growth
does not reach them, now even the ability to deal with their financial
distress or find the tools to break out of the poverty cycle are
becoming narrower because non-profit and social rights organizations are
“The government and the business sector must understand that we are not
just talking about struggling philanthropy but about an investment in
Israeli society,” it said.