The State of Israel and the Role of the Nonprofit
This article is a response to Feeding Israel's Hungry: A Call to Reorganize Priorities
The plight of Israel’s needy is a common topic in many circles. Different ideological views are often expressed, ranging from “it is our duty to do everything we can to help poor people in Israel” to “I don’t donate a penny to nonprofits providing food in Israel, because the nonprofits are only removing the responsibility for feeding the needy from the government over to us.” And of course, both sides have valid points.
Meir Panim, a nonprofit providing food and other services for the needy in Israel, has lobbied the government regularly for increased spending to feed the needy. However, even if government funding for the needy increased tenfold, it would not be enough to help everyone. Furthermore, nonprofit organizations like Meir Panim also have the important job of helping the government prepare and distribute the meals it funds. For example, through the government-funded Sacta-Rashi Foundation, Meir Panim prepares and distributes meals to 5,000 children daily.
Additionally, regardless of whether the government bears the ultimate responsibility for feeding the poor, the fact is that it is not doing enough. In this situation, are you honestly ready to abandon these people to lives filled with shame, hunger, and unfulfilled dreams when you have the means and opportunities to help?
Talk of rearranging the budget is important, and if we work together to reach this goal, I believe that we will succeed. But what will Israel's needy people eat until then? By the time we succeed, hundreds (or even thousands) of them may have died of hunger. Meir Panim and nonprofits like it are here to ensure that such a thing does not and cannot happen.