By Nicole Jansezian
More than 20 percent of the Israeli population was living below the poverty line before the war, but now more than twice that number of Israelis fear that they are on the brink of economic hardship.
With an estimated 200,000 citizens internally displaced around the country, many have lost their jobs or have been forced to close their businesses, some temporarily and others permanently.
Recognizing this brewing crisis, CBN Israel—which partners with several food banks and distribution centers—ramped up its assistance during this time to make sure people don’t go hungry.
Latet, one of CBN Israel’s partners, estimates that 46 percent of Israelis are concerned that their economic situation will deteriorate in the aftermath of the war. Many of these citizens are living in temporary shelters and are unable to cook a hot meal for their families, while those already living in poverty have been further impacted by rising prices in Israel.
Along with other organizations, Latet, which in Hebrew means “to give,” have been scrambling to address these issues. Latet acts as an umbrella organization to 210 municipalities and local charities in Israel. These institutions have reported a 58 percent increase in the number of families asking for assistance since October 7.
In an attempt to alleviate this growing need, CBN Israel increased its support of food security organizations. In just four months, Latet was able to distribute an additional 104,000 food packages and has been providing food to soldiers and first responders who are on the frontlines of the conflict in addition to serving its regular beneficiaries—95,000 families and 1,450 Holocaust survivors.
“Truly, we the Latet team, would like to thank you. You made us feel we are not alone in a very lonely and scary time,” Tal Avnet, head of resources development at Latet, told CBN Israel.
Israel’s largest NGO combating food insecurity and poverty, Latet is no stranger to international crises having responded to natural disasters and civil wars around the world.
Latet also produces an annual report on the state of poverty and food insecurity in Israel taking into account various factors beyond just income but other expenses such as housing, education, healthcare, and the cost of utilities. Latet uses these details to advocate within the Israeli government on behalf of the needy.
The organization works with grocery stores and food manufacturers to salvage fresh and canned food and make sure it goes to people in need. It also helps with providing other essentials such as back-to-school equipment, hygiene boxes, and winter equipment.
Latet relies on a vast network of thousands of volunteers who help sort and pack the food that goes out of the warehouse. Thanks to CBN Israel and compassionate donors, Latet has a strong ally in the ongoing fight against rising food insecurity and poverty in Israel.
Nicole Jansezian is the media coordinator for CBN Israel. A long-time journalist, Nicole was previously the news editor of All Israel News and All Arab News and a journalist at The Associated Press. On her YouTube channel, Nicole gives a platform to the minority communities in Jerusalem and highlights stories of fascinating people in this intense city. Born and raised in Queens, N.Y., she lives in Jerusalem with her husband, Tony, and their three children.