Covid-19: How Israel’s nonprofits are helping out

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A message from the founder of Israel Legacy Central, Carol Karsch

Growing up in the American philanthropic world and heading the Jewish Community Foundation in Tucson for 25 years gave me the priceless opportunity to work with hundreds of donors and their families building their charitable Legacy plans.

I believed in the concept of Legacy from the time my husband and I created a charitable bequest years earlier when our first child was born.

Donors made very individual choices: an institution with which they had long affiliated, such as synagogue or Center, or a new program which the donor felt would fill a gap in community life. Many designated a general field, such as childhood education or Ethiopian absorption in Israel, and asked their local Federation or Foundation to ensure funding.  When Israel had been a vital part of their lives, an Israeli organization was often included in the Legacy plan.

Legacy, we grew to understand, represented “One More Child to Worry About and Protect His Future.”

Over the years I learned how deep this connection ran. Once someone committed to Legacy, he or she would never let it go. His “One More Child” became part of his being. This was for me a new and powerful realization.

Always hoping to make Aliya, my move in 2012 to Modiin, a dynamic city between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, opened the way to work towards long term financial support for Israeli organizations.

The Israel Legacy Central Website offers you the opportunity to connect directly with Israeli nonprofit organizations and read their stories and personal accounts. You’ll also find ideas and practical information about making a Legacy Giving.  When you include Israel in your Legacy, you’ll experience a sense of completeness and satisfaction from the impact you can make.

Natal – to live again

Healing the Invisible Scars, Creating a Resilient Israel, Ensuring a Strong Future

How do you bandage wounds you cannot see?

How does Israeli society cope with the trauma of life under daily threat?

NATAL is here to help.

Following the traumatic events of summer 2014, volunteers manning the Helpline for NATAL, the Israeli Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War, received a phone call from an eight-year boy and his ten-year old sister.

“Our mom won’t stop shaking,” the siblings told the volunteer on the line, “I don’t know what to do.” Their mother, on a quick trip out to the grocery store, had narrowly missed another rocket attack.  Scared, panicked and in distress, she did not know what to do. The children, who had seen NATAL’s toll-free Helpline phone number on television, decided to call for help.

“We’ve received thousands of calls since the beginning of the war,” says Orly Gal, NATAL’s Executive Director referencing summer 2014’s Operation Protective Edge. “And you have to understand every conversation, it’s not like it’s for a minute. It’s a long conversation, to assess symptoms, to give breathing exercises and help them calm down and if need be, to refer to NATAL’s clinical psychological care. NATAL’s Helpline provides crisis intervention and long-term emotional support through highly trained volunteers.”

Since 1948, the state of Israel has endured a series of wars, countless terror attacks and constant bombardment of rockets over southern communities. For more than six decades, Israelis have been faced with the challenges of trying to live a normal life within an abnormal reality.

NATAL opened its doors, in 1998, by Judith Yovel Recanati and the late Dr. Yossi Hadar, to address an unmet need in the country of providing trauma treatment to victims of Terror and War.   Trauma affects the lives of thousands of people, everyday. It cannot necessarily be seen physically, yet it can severely derail the course of a person’s life.

Today, NATAL is seen as the “go to” trauma organization in Israel for treatment and prevention of post-traumatic stress, training of professionals, resiliency building, public advocacy and research.

Through NATAL’s toll-free Helpline, Clinical Services, Social Therapeutic Club and Community Outreach Unit, NATAL treats thousands of trauma victims and trains thousands more every year

To date NATAL’s professional services have helped more than 200,000 people regain their lives.

For more information on NATAL’s work in Israel and international partnerships through American Friends of NATAL, visit the American Friends of Natal website.

Agriculture and Technology for Good

Israel’s Nonprofits are as diverse and vibrant as its people

Many of us are familiar with Israel’s vibrant nonprofit organizations and the important work they do. What most of us don’t realize, however, is just how big an impact Israel’s nonprofit sector has on the country and its people.

In fact, as a percentage of the country’s total GDP and the number of people employed, Israel has one of the largest nonprofit industries in the world. Following the business and public sectors, Israel had an estimated 43,000 registered nonprofits as of 2016, an impressive number considering the total size of the country. 

The work and impact of Israeli nonprofits can be seen in nearly every area within Israel society. Whether it’s agriculture, music, social welfare, animals, technology, business financing, environment, culture, human rights, healthcare, international aid, or education, Israeli nonprofit organizations are fully ingrained into Israeli life and the economy.

One of the reasons Israel nonprofit sector is so robust dates to the 1990s, when the Israeli government started to privatize key public services. Israel actively shifted the responsibility for specific social services to both the business and nonprofit sectors, which resulted in some of Israel’s non-profit organizations playing a core role in essential social services nationally. One such example is NATAL, a nonprofit who serves as the defacto service provider for Israelis suffering from symptoms related to PTSD.

As of 2015, the nonprofit sector accounted for an estimated 67 billion NIS (about $22 billion USD) to the Israeli economy, or over 5% of total GDP. The nonprofit sector also employed as of 2015 as estimated 470,000 people, which accounted for nearly 14% of the entire workforce in Israel! In addition to the tens of thousands of registered nonprofits, there are an estimated 3,500 active registered Israeli foundations Israel, whose core function is funding of grants such as scholarships to individuals and large gifts to major institutional organizations.

As you can see, Israel’s nonprofit sector not only has a big impact on the individuals it serves, but also plays a major role in the country’s economy. Because Israel’s nonprofit organizations are such a key part of core services for healthcare, education, and social services, they really do impact the lives of millions of Israelis every day.