Needs and Responses

Needs and Responses in Israel

Overview

Israel’s nonprofit sector is facing most of the same needs and challenges that Jewish nonprofits in North America are facing as a result of COVID-19 and the economic downturn it has caused. On top of that, the sector is getting only minimal assistance from the Israeli government:

  • Nonprofits are severely hurt by Israel’s lack of a national budget, which is making it much more difficult for nonprofits to receive the government funding on which they rely. All social service organizations were notified that their government funding in 2020 would be cut by 30 percent.
  • Until May, the government’s coronavirus economic aid benefited primarily businesses and not nonprofits. However, in May, the government announced a package of grants and resources available to nonprofits, as well as several policies aimed at reducing bureacratic and other burdens. The package includes a joint 40 million NIS joint Philanthropy-Government Israel Civil Society Emergency Relief Fund that will benefit nonprofits not otherwise eligible for government assistance, and which JFN-Israel is helping to administer (more on this under Donor Responses). JFN-Israel, with our partners at JDC-Elka, have produced a guide (available in Hebrew and English) to these resources and how nonprofits can apply for them.
  • To date, 25 percent of all Israeli nonprofits have discontinued operations during the coronavirus crisis, and it is estimated that 50 percent of all employees in the nonprofit sector have been placed on leave of absence. Larger, more established, organizations are succeeding in mobilizing and providing valuable service, while the small organizations that function on lean budgets are, for the most part, forced to shut down.

Needs in Specific Sectors

Arab Citizens
of Israel

Arts and
Culture

Asylum
Seekers

Children
at Risk

Climate Change and
Environmentalism

The Elderly,
Including Holocaust Survivors

Food
Insecurity

Haredi
Community

People with
Disabilities

Strengthening the
Nonprofit Sector

Young Adults
at Risk

Women
 

Overview of Needs

The needs of Israeli nonprofits are expected to evolve over time:

  • Immediate – at the initial stage of chaos, all organizations reach out for immediate assistance, even those that do not have immediate needs (but ride the wave).
  • Mid-course – at the stage we are at now, organizations are regrouping and moving into organized activities during the crisis.
  • Plan B – some organizations, especially the more established ones, are beginning to rethink their work, and adapt their activities to the “new normal”, the new post-corona environment in which they will be functioning for the foreseeable future.

Other common challenges throughout Israel include a shortage of protective gear for healthcare workers, caregivers and other front-line responders; layoffs of social workers and other service providers coinciding with an increase in demand for services; skyrocketing rates of unemployment

Overview of Funder Responses

In early May, the Israeli government announced, as part of a larger aid package for nonprofits, a joint Philanthropy-Government Israel Civil Society Emergency Relief Fund that will benefit nonprofits not otherwise eligible for government assistance. This 40 million NIS fund, of which 75 percent of the dollars come from the government and 25 percent from private foundations and donors, will distribute fast-track grants to coronavirus crisis-impacted civil society organizations, with the aim of helping them maintain their operations and organizational infrastructure so they can return to normal operations in the future. More details here.

On May 26, JFN-Israel published updated details about government aid available and other resources Israeli nonprofits can access, with links and application guidelines. 

According to the Forum on Foundations in Israel (as of April 20), 40 foundations have given emergency grants in the wake of Covid-19 totaling NIS 193 million, to over 80 nonprofits and more than 30 medical institutions. (More details here)

Ogen – Social Loan Fund, a not-for-profit lending fund, and The Jewish Agency for Israel are launching the Emergency Fund for Nonprofits to assist Israeli nonprofit organizations suffering financially from the coronavirus crisis. The program includes provisions for immediate loans at a three percent interest rate, with no requirement for guarantors, along with financial consulting services that will help these organizations to stay afloat. To finance the initiative, Ogen – formerly known as the Israel Free Loan Association – has allocated 30 million NIS in lending capital for the loans. The Jewish Agency has allocated an additional three million NIS from philanthropic sources toward guaranteeing the loans. The two organizations have also raised another three million NIS from Ogen donors, including the Migdal Group. Ogen and The Jewish Agency will continue working on expanding the budget of the loan fund and recruiting additional partners, including the Israeli government and philanthropic organizations in Israel and abroad. The initiative aims to operate throughout the crisis period, offering loans of up to 400,000 NIS for a period of up to 60 months, with a six-month grace period and without guarantors.

The JDC is working with the Israeli government to help people who have lost, or are about to lose, their jobs or be furloughed, by creating re-skilling content and highlighting alternative employment opportunities.  

Russian-Israeli billionaire and philanthropist Yuri Milner has donated $3 million to Magen David Adom, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and Tel Aviv University.

The Edmond de Rothschild Foundation (Israel) has donated $13.6 million to boost the efforts of Israel’s hospitals to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

Former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky, winner of the 2020 Genesis Prize, will donate the $1 million award to organizations fighting the coronavirus pandemic and assisting people most affected by the outbreak. The Genesis Prize Foundation said donations would go to organizations providing emergency services to Jerusalem residents of all faiths, and assisting severely disabled children, domestic violence victims, African migrants in Tel Aviv and people in need of mental health services. He will also support research at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, Columbia University and New York University, and help elderly Jewish communities overseas.

In addition to its support for Ogen, the Russell Berrie Foundation has approved $2.66 million in grants  to serve emergency needs in Israel, including medical and health care needs; services for the elderly in Israel’s Arab communities; technology services for Israel’s elderly, personal protective equipment for volunteers serving the Bedouin community of the Negev. More details here.   

Resources

Israeli Youth Struggling to Re-Enter Virus-Battered Workforce

Description - News article

Source - Bloomberg
June 30

Understanding the Post Covid Social Landscape to Navigate Your Israel Giving

Understanding the Post Covid Social Landscape to Navigate Your Israel Giving

Date and time - Wednesday, July 8
12:30-2 pm, Eastern (7:30-9 pm in Israel)

Source - JFN webinar

The Megatrends and Forces that will Shape Israel’s Social Landscape in the Era Following the Corona Crisis

The Megatrends and Forces that will Shape Israel’s Social Landscape in the Era Following the Corona Crisis

Description - Report

Source - Shaldor Strategy Consulting
June 2020

Arts & Culture in Israel in the Wake of Covid-19

Description - Fact Sheet/Briefing Paper

Source - JFN Israel, Institute for Law and Philanthropy at Tel Aviv University, Forum of Foundations in Israel
May 2020

‘Peoplehood Coalition’ Connects Diaspora with COVID-19 Tech Solutions from Israel

Description - News Article

Source - Jewish News Service
June 9

In Israel, a Refugee Women’s Collective Finds a New Direction Amid the Pandemic

Description - Article

Source - Tablet
June 4

OGEN Israel Social Loan Fund Raises $30 Million for Coronavirus Relief in Israel

Description - Article

Source - eJewish Philanthropy
June 1

Updated Information on Israeli Government Resources for NGOs

Updated Information on Israeli Government Resources for NGOs

JDC Aid Organization Lays Off 53 Staffers Around the World

Description - News article

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
May 22

Despite Crises at Home, US Jewish Charities Keep Sending Money to Israel

Description - News article (sponsored)

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency (Sponsored by JFNA)
May 18

The Russell Berrie Foundation Announces $4.48 Million in Emergency Grants to Support COVID-19 Response Efforts in New Jersey and Israel

Description - Press release

Source - Russell Berrie Foundation
May 19

Protecting Israel’s Most Vulnerable: The Urgency in Sustaining Nonprofits

Description - Op-Ed

Source - Chronicle of Philanthropy
May 14

Has Israel’s Political Stalemate Come to an End?

Has Israel’s Political Stalemate Come to an End?

Source - JFN webinar with downloadable presentation
May 7

Jewish End-of-Life Services Offered in Response to COVID-19

Jewish End-of-Life Services Offered in Response to COVID-19

Description - Guide/Update

Source - The David Berg Foundation
May 7

Guide to Israeli Government Covid Relief Package for Nonprofits

Guide to Israeli Government Covid Relief Package for Nonprofits

Source - JFN Guide
May 6

Sharansky to Use Genesis Prize Proceeds to Fight Coronavirus

Description - News Article

Source - Associated Press
May 4

Tel Aviv University Scientist Claims He’s Two-Thirds the Way to COVID-19 Vaccine

Description - News Article

Source - Jerusalem Post
April 19

On This Covid Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Let’s Hit the Reset Button

On This Covid Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Let’s Hit the Reset Button

Description - Yom Ha'atzmaut message

Source - Andrés Spokoiny of JFN
April 29

Covid-19 Treatment Innovations

Description - Report

Source - Technion
April 2020

Summary of Philanthropic Giving in Israel in the Age of COVID-19

Description - Survey Results

Source - Forum of Foundations in Israel
April 20

COVID-19 and the Israeli Tech Ecosystem

COVID-19 and the Israeli Tech Ecosystem

Description - JFN Webinar
April 7

Report from American Jewish Joint-Distribution Committee

Source - JDC
March 23

Nonprofit Funding Proposals

Making Mental Health Accessible During Social Distancing

Description - Funding proposal

Source - Tel Aviv University

Tel Aviv University Corona Research Drive: Accelerating Public Testing & Research Solutions

Description - Funding proposal

Source - Tel Aviv University

Child Care for Essential Medical Workers in Israel

Description - Funding proposal

Source - Dror Israel

If you have additional information about needs and responses in Israel, please contact us:

  Needs and Responses