Sponsor a child in Israel
Despite relatively high living standards, many children growing up in Israel remain vulnerable. Tensions arising from the Arab-Israeli conflict continue to afflict communities, with children suffering the most. A quarter of all children grow up in poor households, mostly from Arab or Haredi Jewish backgrounds. SOS Children has been helping since 1977.
Help now by sponsoring a child with SOS Children:Sponsor a child in Israel
Poverty despite a strong economy
Israel's service-based economy is strong, and has remained robust in recent years despite a slight dip in 2008-9. Sadly, inequality is common in Israel. A widening wealth gap means that a quarter of households live in poverty by national standards. The Arab population suffers from much higher infant mortality and a lower life expectancy.
A vulnerable childhoodAs so often is the case, children are a particularly vulnerable group. Israel has one of the highest rates of child poverty amongst OECD countries - that is, countries whose economies are considered highly developed. Children are often disadvantaged by their background - especially hard-hit groups include Arabs and Haredi Jews. After completing secondary school, most children are conscripted to serve in the armed forces.
Our Work in Israel
SOS Children began work in Israel in 1977. We opened our first Children's Village on the outskirts of the southern city of Arad in 1981. A second Village opened two decades later in 1997, this time in the Migdal HaEmek, not far from the biblical city of Nazareth. To begin with, we offered support to children who had lost their parents and could no longer live with their own parents, but since then, SOS Children has adapted and now provides help to vulnerable families in the community.
Located on the southern edge of Arad, our first Children's Village in Neradim opened in 1981. The land, which lies close to the Dead Sea, was donated by the Israeli government. Arad is home to various vulnerable people. It is common for Haredi men devote their lives to the study of the Torah instead of seeking permanent employment, and many have large families to support. Many Ethiopian families came to Arad in the 1980s and 1990s, and the vast majority of these are poor, with drug and alcohol abuse common among older children.
Bedouin people of the Negev desert have largely had to abandon their semi-nomadic way-of-life due to legal restrictions, and many now live in illegal settlements without municipal services such as water and electricity. This group is particularly deprived.
SOS Children has greatly expanded its reach since 1981. Our social centre opened in 2008 to act primarily as a transit home providing short-term care for at-risk children aged 6-12. A second social centre provides family support to Bedouins, Sudanese refugees and Jews alike.
The Village has 12 two-storey family houses and a community house with a large hall. In addition, an SOS Youth Home was opened in 1988, providing a home for up to 14 teenage boys. This house gives the boys the chance to take their first steps towards independence. Children who have nowhere else to go can find a home in the Children's Village itself.
Lying just south of Nazareth, our Children's Village in Migdal Haemek opened in 1997. The official opening ceremony was carried out by the then state President Ezer Weizmann. In the North District where the Village is located, more than half the population are Arabs, making it the only Arab-dominated district in the country. This sector of society is the poorest, and has not benefited from recent economic growth. Schools in Arab-predominant regions are often reported to be poorer in quality, with too few staff and inadequate funding.
Two social centres provide family support and daycare for local children. By working with local people, we are able to deliver community-based, self-organised and self-managed care and guidance to ensure both children and parents benefit from the expertise of a locally-rooted approach. We help children build on their aptitudes and interests through a range of activities at the Village, from IT lessons to football, photography classes and drama workshops.
Our Children's Village in Migdal Haemek also offers a caring home to children who have no one else to turn to.
Life in SOS Children Israel
Before Max left SOS Children’s Village Neradim to go and begin his adult life, he gave a talk to the children and mothers about his time at the Village: “Due to circumstances at home, I arrived at the village 15 years ago, when I was only 3 ½ years old, together with my three older sisters. I can say that my personality was developed at the SOS Children's Village. This was due to the care and love of the SOS mothers and where I learnt the difference between right and wrong. They strengthened my ambitions to succeed in life and to find the meaning of life; to find myself a new way instead of leaning on the past. Since I was a young child I understood that the village is the only place in which I can feel safe and free, feelings which I did not experience in my own home. I would like to thank my village family who brought me to where and what I am today, and to my three sisters who always worried about me and gave as much as they could and never turned their back to me."
Israeli Society for SOS Children's Villages
8 HaLapid Street
Petach Tikvah 49258
7411 Kiryat Matalon
Tel: +972/3/613 2438
Fax: +972/3/575 4931