Israelis are taking to the streets

By Julie Golde, Senior Program Officer

It all started with cottage cheese...For those of you who have been to Israel, you know how passionate Israelis are about their cottage cheese, a beloved Israeli staple that graces the table at almost every meal.  So, when the rising costs of cottage cheese became a topic on Facebook, it created quite a stir, a boycott, and ultimately, led to Israel's dairies responding to the public pressure by reducing the price significantly.

The headlines about this new social movement have focused the public's attention on economic disparity in Israel. Indeed, for years JCF's Israel Office Director Gila Noam has spoken about "the threat from within" as being the most serious issue facing the state of Israel today. The 'threat from within' refers to the fact that more and more Israelis cannot live and enjoy the basic essentials of the society. Young, motivated, hard-working Israelis cannot make ends meet. You may say, well, that mirrors what's happening in the United States and all over the world. True, however, in a country as small as Israel and founded upon core Jewish values, this widening gap between the "have's" and "have-nots" is felt far more profoundly and intensely and can indeed threaten the very fabric of the Jewish state.

The 'threat from within' refers to the fact that more and more Israelis cannot live and enjoy the basic essentials of the society.

The programs that JCF funds and nurtures in Israel are precisely those that address this threat from within, seeking to narrow these gaps in Israeli society and creating real social change. Such programs include ECHAD (Early Childhood Achievement & Development) which works from the "inside out" in Arab-Israeli communities throughout Israel, training professionals, training parents, and providing language and literacy enrichment and intervention for young children, setting them up for success in school and society; Olim b'Yachad (Rising up Together), which has created social change for young Ethiopian Israelis, as it successfully integrates university graduates into the workforce and the society in ways that have never occurred before; and Jerusalem Venture Partners Bakehila program (Educational Enrichment & Community Development in Jerusalem), breaking the cycle of poverty through formal and informal education in Jerusalem's most disadvantaged neighborhoods.

See first-hand by watching a video on how Federation dollars go to building a just, democratic and pluralistic Israel or read stories from Israel from people who directly benefited from our programs. How energizing and meaningful for JCF to be at that apex of social change in Israel. And what an incredible time for Israel, uniting all of its citizens around a common goal and purpose of Tzedek Hevrati, social justice, where everyone has a chance to succeed. Make a gift today to Federation to support this important work.

Categories: Israel


August 11, 2011


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