IFCJ provides nearly $3 million in holiday assistance to Israeli families

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews will provide nearly $3 million in direct assistance for the high holidays to 55,000 needy Israeli families.

The assistance will include 11,000 food vouchers to single parent families in public housing and to new immigrants to Israel; 8,500 clothing and food vouchers to lone soldiers and needy families; 14,000 aid packages funded through charities for needy families; and 8,100 clothing vouchers for children in youth villages for those in need of welfare and educational support.

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“We will increase our assistance to the weakest in society, thanks to the generous donations of hundreds of thousands Christians who love Israel and the Jewish people and wish to strengthen Israeli society,” said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the Fellowship, in a statement.

The support is being granted in light of further cuts to the welfare budget, the fellowship said in a statement.

“During this period of Jewish festivals the situation for the weakest in society continues to deteriorate and their sense of hopelessness increases. After the harsh cuts of 2013 the government of Israel promised to provide good news to the poorest in society but in practice did very little. The latest cuts in the budget do not bode well for the implementation of the plan to reduce poverty,” Eckstein said.

Also in advance of Rosh Hashanah, Leket Israel distributed 1,200 food packages, including non-perishables and fresh chickens to families in the southern Israeli cities of Ashdod, Ofakim, Netivot, Sderot and Ashkelon. The food also was purchased from a vendor in the south to help boost the economy of the communities most severely affected by this summer’s Gaza conflict.

Leket received a 20 percent increase in requests for assistance for Rosh Hashanah.