Saturday, September 30, 2006

Israeli Support Even More Dire

In a followup to my post of exactly one month ago today, where it was noted that 25% of all Israelis are living BELOW the poverty level, I did a little Googling on the situation. It's actually come up in the Israeli press but the news is not good.

Ynet refers to those in the "north" of Israel, in the Kiryat Shemona region that took all of the Katyusha rocket fire this summer, as "Israel's third world." There used to be an area of Tel Aviv referred to as Israel's third world. Amazing that the fertile farmlands of the north are now being referred to this way.

But not so amazing when one recalls over a thousand Katyushas pounded on the region in just one month, literally igniting the land and burning out both the forests (deforestation that will take 50-60 years (to recover), the people and the once-productive economy. The environments in both Israel and Lebanon have suffered as a result of this summer's "war."

Bank of Israel Governor, Stanley Fischer, told both Ha'aretz and The Jerusalem Post it's going to take a pace of least 5% growth per year for 10 years for Israel to reduce poverty significantly. He noted:
"If we don't succeed in growing, we will pay a very high price, so there is a need to balance defense needs and security needs, and we still have not arrived at the perfect balance."
Fischer also praised the behavior of Israeli citizens during the war in the North, who
...against expectations...brought their money into the country, as opposed to in the past, when they rushed their money abroad. This proves that they had faith in the economy, and that is a good sign.
He went onto report that this summer's conflict in Lebanon
...cost the economy about 8% of GDP, reiterating his assessment made during the fighting that it would cost between 7% and 9% of GDP, or up to NIS 5 billion (about USD $1.2 billion)

How can you help?
  • The OU (the Jewish Orthodox Union) has a dozen or more ideas.

  • Friends of Israeli Firefighters needs new equipment now more than ever!

  • The United Jewish Federation has suggestions of how you can donate your time and effort and spirit without spending a dime.

  • discusses why Christians can/should help - in case the fact that the Pope's life was recently threatened by the RIFs doesn't give you enough impetus, consider this discussion over at DhimmiWatch on what it's like to have Christmas without Christians in the Holy Land (or why you should be supporting Israel's efforts to make the Holy Land accessible to all people, of all religions)

  • The United Jewish Communities AKA the Jewish Federations of America, also have special funds set up (as well as activities which you can help with or just participate in to show your support).

  • And last but not least, my favorite American organization that does nothing in the US but help Israel: Hadassah. In Israel, Hadassah does far too much life-saving and life changing work to list here - go rummage through Hadassah-Israel's web site to see some of the uses to which dollars sent through Hadassah in the US will be put. Outside the US, visit the Hadassah International web site to find the Hadassah gals near you--they are everywhere in this world you want to be!


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