4,000 charities in danger of closing

Some 4,000 local charities and nonprofit organizations are in danger of closing in the next several months due to the growing global economic crisis, according to a survey published Monday by the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev's Israeli Center for Third Sector Research. According to the center's studies, a third of Israel's estimated 30,000 registered non-profits have already been forced to severely curtail their activities, with 20 percent postponing various programs and 13% cancelling programs outright. Some 15% of the charities have been forced to fire staff over the past few months and 20% believe they will have no choice but to follow suit in the near term. "We have been hit by three factors: the weak value of the dollar, the global economic crisis and reduced assistance from government," said Dr. Yaron Sokolov, director of the Israel Civic Leadership Association, which acts as an umbrella for local nonprofit groups. In response, Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog called on the government to hold emergency meetings to evaluate how to strengthen support for the nonprofit sector.