May 28, 2024
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May 28, 2024
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This Rosh Hashanah: Israel’s Poor Becoming Poorer

As the cost of living in Israel rises, the country’s struggling working class wonders how it will survive the Rosh Hashanah holiday. A unique opportunity to donate to Meir Panim is still available before time runs out.

(Courtesy of Meir Panim) With another Israeli election on the horizon, opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu has focused on a critical issue for struggling Israelis: inflation. Polling data shows that Israel’s inflationary price hikes are a priority issue among his constituency, and so Netanyahu is focusing his campaign efforts on lowering prices and the cost of living for everyday Israelis.

The Campaign Promise

A recent Netanyahu campaign video shows the former prime minister going to a grocery store in Jerusalem’s Malha Mall. Standing next to an apple stand with a crowd of frustrated shoppers gathered around him, the opposition leader declares: “We’ll lower prices to assist you! Mortgages have increased! The gasoline—have you heard? We’ll also lower [the price of] gas. Do you want it to decrease?” “Yes!” the crowd answers in unison. “So vote for us!” he says with an optimistic grin.

Netanyahu’s campaign video continues at a bakery and a gas station, where he bemoans the increase in prices across the board, vowing that if elected, he will reduce the rising prices plaguing Israel’s working class.

The Data

According to a poll by the Israel Democracy Institute at the end of May, the most pressing issue for Israelis currently is the high cost of living, with 34% listing it as their top concern. In third place, after security, Israelis are concerned about increases in the cost of housing, another inflation-related issue.

A Price Comparison

The cost to fill up a full tank of gas in Israel is among the highest in the world, practically double the already high cost of gas in the United States. Israelis paying over $9 per gallon watch with jealousy as Americans complain about paying $5 per gallon.

Israel’s Electricity Authority recently announced a 9.6% price increase beginning this month, with significant consequences for lower-income Israelis. Families struggling to pay already high electricity bills will now face an even greater burden.

With rising prices crushing the lower class, the Finance Ministry tried to subsidize bread but was recently forced to raise prices to mollify Israel’s bakeries, which have themselves struggled with flour shortages and price hikes due to the war in Ukraine.

As always, the people hurt the most by price hikes are those in Israel’s struggling lower class. That is why charitable organizations like Meir Panim are a vital safety net for the most vulnerable Israelis.

A Silver Lining

Meir Panim provides warm meals to Israelis who need them through their countrywide network of restaurant-style soup kitchens. To minimize waste and costs, the organization acquires about half of its food from local hotels that would otherwise throw out perfectly edible and delicious food, and its staff includes many dedicated volunteers. Nevertheless, Meir Panim bears many costs that are only increasing due to inflation, including food, transport, storage, cleaning, rent and utilities for their restaurant-style soup kitchens. They rely 100% on private donations.

A Wave of Hunger

This Rosh Hashanah, Meir Panim expects an unprecedented influx of hungry families unable to afford essential food items. To ensure every family receives the meals they require for the High Holidays, it is critically important for Meir Panim to raise additional funds. According to tradition, God determines on Rosh Hashanah how much money each of us will make in the coming year. Traditionally, many people donate charity to worthy causes before the holiday begins, as it is their last chance to be judged favorably by God.

Now is your chance to help Israel’s poorest families at the time they need it most. Help feed a hungry family in Israel this new year by donating to Meir Panim today. Visit to donate today.

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