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Understanding The Controversy Over Minister Kachlon's Recent Comments

04/06/ 2012

Monday, April 02, 2012, Israel Minister of Welfare, Moshe Kachlon strongly criticized the majority of Israeli NGO's distributing food packages and those operating soup kitchens, etc.

The reaction from the NGO sector was swift and furious, blaming the government for not doing enough and saying that they, the NGO's have no choice but to operate in the way they do, in order to collect funds and help the poor in place of government.

For more on the breaking story, please visit http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/social-affairs-minister-slams-ngos-for-turning-passover-food-handouts-into-photo-op-1.422224.

The truth is, Minister Kachlon recently learnt about our FOOD CARD program when he met on the eve of Yom Kippur with our Israel Country Director, Shalom Glitsenstein and Program Director, Mr. Avishai ben David.

The information relayed to Minister Kachlon was simple and factual;

  1. There is a better way to help the needy and struggling families in Israel, and that Israel need not be portrayed as a Third World country with people "starving", etc.
  2. That the FOOD CARD is more cost effective, dignified and transparent than any other food welfare program.
  3. That THE FOOD CARD already partners with numerous municipalities, government agencies and private NGO's who appreciate the benefits of the FOOD CARD and is already providing help to close to 6,000 families monthly.
  4. That the FOOD CARD can easily handle another 10,000, 20,000 and even 100,000 additional families without the need for a high overhead, large burearocracy, etc.
  5. That 94% of welfare beneficiaries would actualy prefer THE FOOD CARD over any other form of food assistance.

On the spot, Minister Kachlon, pledged to do everything in his power to re-chart the government assistance towards the FOOD CARD program.

And as such, for the first time, the Ministry of Welfare in conjunction with the International Fellowship for Christians and Jews, distributed pre-paid supermarket debit cards, similar to the FOOD CARD, to 31,000 families, each with a 400 NIS value.

We understand the need for PR and we struggle daily to raise additinal funds because we refuse to dramatize the need in Israel. In our opinion, it is more of an issue of FOOD INSECURITY than POVETY and HUNGER!. Yes, there are many families and need, and we are trying to help as many of them as we can. We regularly feed close to 6,000 families monthly, and in time for Passover, reached close to 9,000 families.

Israel is in fact not Russia or Africa. There isno need for soup kitchens, and there is no reason to create photos ops of families and individuals clamoring over food distribution centers. Nor is there a need for high profile delivery trucks stopping in front of recipients homes for all the neighbors to see.

There is a famous saying, "Those who matter don't complain, and those who fuss, don't matter". With all due respect to those organizations mentioned in the Haaretz article clamoring over the Minister's remarks, their response does not answer his concerns. Perhaps the Government is not doing enough, but that is not enough of a justification to use recipients for publicity and photo opportunities.

There is a better way. It is here and available. It is the most dignified, cost effective, transparent and preferred choice of recipients.

Give us a call, we will be happy to partner with you.

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