“They only asked us to be mindful of the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.” – Galatians 2:10
Poverty is a problem in Israel, a fact that many have trouble believing.
One out of every five adults lives beneath the poverty level. About 30% of children live in poverty. In fact, Israel has the highest rate of poverty in the developed world.
That seems odd.
There are at least two reasons for that. The primary one is that Israel is in a constant state of alert. The nations that surround them have sworn Israel’s destruction at one time or another and have made attempts to do so. They also face continuous terrorist assaults from within.
Yet the land of Israel is actually a very safe place to visit. That has a lot to do with its military readiness to defend its citizens at all times. Safety for the Israelis comes with a cost though. Food prices are much higher than they are here, as is the cost of driving a car. Gasoline is more than eight dollars a gallon.
Another reason for the poverty rate is the rapid growth of immigration. Israel offers the “right of return” for Jews from all over the world, which guarantees their citizenship.
However, many immigrants come with very little more than the bags they carry. In recent years most have come from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia. Due to reportedly increasing anti-Semitism, many are leaving Europe as well. Assimilation into the new land, language, and culture is an expensive ordeal, which often overwhelms the local municipalities. Because local officials aren’t able to provide adequate humanitarian assistance, they come under much criticism.
Enter the Joseph Project.
As the director for ANM’s ministry in Israel, I have the privilege of developing beautiful relationships with the ministries we serve there. The support of our ANM family makes this possible.
One thing they all share is the desire to help meet the needs of the poor amongst them. The Joseph Project has become the vehicle by which humanitarian goods can be delivered to families in need. I have personally helped carry food and household goods to apartments where Ethiopian and Ukrainian and even Iranian families live.
I was simply a laborer who “came along for the ride,” but I have witnessed the deep appreciation of those on the receiving end for the care that has been shown to their meager household.
The Joseph Project has been on call for national challenges such as the widespread fires of 2016 and rocket attacks from years prior. They do not serve for recognition but out of a God-given love for the people who feel overlooked or forgotten.
As a result of faithfully answering the call for several years, they have gained recognition with government officials and the citizens of the Land as people who care.