I CAN’T BELIEVE IT! How can a country that claims to be progressive, enlightened, democratic! allow for such a situation. Having grown up in America, where having a disposable income was pretty much a given. Where a “living wage” was understood by both government and business as a basic ‘right” of each of its workers, it is impossible for me to accept the lack of these things in Israel.
For all the talk of what the poor must do for themselves, without addressing the economic environment Israelis live (try to live) in, I am not sure that even “Stress Management” can help families survive, let alone thrive.
I am not an economist, but there are many praticle, and in reality, fiscally affordable strategies that MUST begin NOW in order to make the climb out of poverty at least possible. In some of the following posts I will share some of the most promissing government level strategies. (See ynet report)
Restoring pride in the downtrodden is probably one of the most important things that must be done in order to enable them to get out of poverty. To get out of the cycle of poverty.
Perhaps at the same time, issues of self esteem and a healthy work ethic. When “bread winners’ face the a decision between working at a real job or staying on welfare, pride, and not just the practicality underlying the decision has just as much to do with the decision.
When the person in poverty has lost their self pride, their self esteem, going to work is just a another way, and at usually much higher effort, to put bread on the table, or pay the water bill. It is imperative that parents, schools and society at large instill these values in every child.
Here in Israel that is not always so easy. There are cultures and entire communities that shun work. That seek their self esteem in things that do not directly feed their families, or themselves. As lofty and as important as these things may be, in the end, in reality the contribute to, rather than solve, poverty.
As we approach the end of our first week with a new president, there is, I believe much the be hopeful for. Yes, I also believe that we need a wait and see approach. Mr. Obama has promised alot.
The situation he is facing, that Americans are facing, and even that the entire world is facing, is not simple at all. Is it possible to turn around an economy that continues to falter? And, being a bit blog centric, what about the poor?
The answer to these few (of so many questions) is, maybe! No, I am not a pessimist. I am, as the new president is, a realist. The one thing though that is different in this new leader is his ability to unite a people. To provide HOPE!
Without the unity. Without the sense and commitment of a common cause, there would be far less a chance to succeed.
Having listened to Mr. Obama’s first weekly address to the nation I am further impressed by his, and his team’s wisdom in seeking solutions, not bandaids to the astronomical problems being faced. His approach to using an investment approach, rather than only a stimulus approach not only can bring immediate relief to the jobless, but help reduce the number of jobless in the years to come. That same approach is needed when addressing poverty.
Poverty, this blog has pointed out, is a multi-feceted issue. It needs government to do its job. But no less importantly, it needs the people to do theirs. With personal and governmental commitment to change, there is hope. What we need, in the words of the new president, is the audacity of hope. The hope, and of course the actions, that can bring true solutions to the problems that affect us all.
Most time I read about American or Israeili economic recovery plans, actually every time…, I completely forget about the issue of poverty discussed in this blog.
Then today, I did not forget. i remembered. And then I though, OK, so what’s the connection? Is there a connection?
The answer of course is a definite YES!
A quick look at Wikipedia for the definition of “Poverty” in Wikipedia points to the direct connection in its first few line:
“Poverty is the deprivation of common necessities such as food, clothing, shelter and safe drinking water, all of which determine our quality of life. It may also include the lack of access to opportunities such as education and employment which aid the escape from poverty and/or allow one to enjoy the respect of fellow citizens.”
And this gets me thinking, not perhaps in the way that some may think about the gap between upper or lower class (whatever that may mean..), but rather about about some who may be thinking along these lines. The government is about to spend $800 billion dollars to “save the economy”. Some may be saying, just give the poor some of that and that would be a huge help as well.
My thinking is more along the lines of, if we (they) can save the economy, that means more jobs for those who need them most. An increased ability to for the middle and upper class to assist the needy.
Indeed, as capitalist as this may sound, I AGREE, save the economy. Invest in the better off. The side effects can only help the needy more than G-D forbid ignore them.
I am sometimes overwhelmed by the magnitude of poverty in Israel. There are so many things that affect poverty. So many surrounding issues that need be fixed before the problem “goes away”. So, WHAT CAN “I” DO?!?!
To start with, I can talk about, blog about it, stay upset about it. I can also, in my own practical (aka more than just words…) help as much as I can in a physical way. I can reach out to those I know that are in need. And yes, I can also reach out the millions I do not know as well. Here’s a few ideas, just for starters:
- Give moral support
- Give food, money, clothes, either directly or by way of a local organization
- Clean those closets, give clothes to the local second hand shop
- Help plan a monthly budget for your neighbor in need
- Take their kids for a day at the zoo, or an hour at the park.
Take action, help now! On on my way! (Image Source)
Food, heating, electricity, and water. The basics. There is one outcome of poverty that is perhaps the most forgotten in the world of poverty; Shalom Bayit, literally peace at home
Shalom Bayit is very cyclical in nature. As financial pressure increases, Shalom Bayit goes down, anger and fighting go up. There are of course many issues that lead to the breakdown of a marriage and that destroy families.
AND, if G-D forbid there is a divorce, the finacial situation of both parenats, and especially the children is severelt affected. This article, although written 4 years ago, describes the terrible situation both wife, husband and especially children find themselves in after divorce.
When this happens in the Jewish community, and much too often in Israel, the pain we feel as a community is much greater.
It was quite striking to me as I walked through downtown Jerusalem last night. The first thing that came to mind is, hey, that’s great. There are people out having a nice relaxing evening with their family and friends. The I remembered, wait a moment, there’s a war going on.
Not just any war. not in some far aff place (from my own selfish perspective…). A war where my Jewish brothers are puting themselves in danger at this very moment, as “Life Goes On”. How can that be?
How can people continue on with their lives as soldiers are G-D forbid being wounded or worse?! Truth be told. I do not have a great answer to that question. No, not even a “good” answer.
Then I think of our issues of poverty. Do we not also “carry on” as our Jewish brothers and sisters, young and old, suffer each moment in debilitating poverty.
I think the answer is yes. And why yes? perhaps because it is human nature. Perhaps we all “feel” for the poor but need to replenish our spirits so that we can face the chalenges before us and actually help.
Your thoughts are welcome…
There are many in the world who argue that one of the causes of terrorism is severe poverty. Just do a search on google for the words “Poverty” and “Hamas” and get 1,800,000 results. There is a common misunderstanding that poverty is what leads people to terrorism.
The truth howver is that it is poverty, brought on by corrupt leadership that leads the impoverished to become terrorists. A recent UN report (cited in this article) reports that 52% of Gaza households live below the international poverty line. There is 45% unemployment. This despite huge amounts of foreign aid. And as we have seen during this past week, during the current war against Hamas, that aid also come from the “enemy”, from Israel.
The curiouse thing of course is, that not all places in the world and their local populations that are afflicted by poverty resort to terrorism.
Israel, as this blog indicates, has its own issues of poverty. We have large percentages of the population living without the basics of food, medicine, and clothing and shelter. No matter what some of the less-responsible media reports in the world, the truth remains that israel is not a terrorist regime. The Israeli army, and especially its soldiers, are the most moral in the world.
Poverty is a worldwide problem. As far as terrorism (also a world wode problem) is concerned however, it is not poverty that brings it about, its is the corruption of leaders who care less about their impoverished citizens and more about their own pockets, lifestyles and agendas.
- 07 May Thoughts of Kindness
- 07 May What can be done to end p...
- 26 Nov Mobilizing for Poverty
- 20 Nov Misiles and Poverty
- 27 Oct Dear Karmey Chesed Suppor...
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- 12 Sep Rosh Hashanah at Karmey H...
- 04 Jul Sarah’s Husband Fin...
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