The hidden children of Israel

Yesterday, I met Avinoam Ben-Yitzhak, who is the Executive Director of “Yeladim

Yeladim, which is Hebrew for Children, is an established NPO, offering new opportunities for the 8,000 Israeli kids in external care – anything from extra tuition to language development to presents for the holidays.

Avinoam and I discussed a  number of avenues to develop revenue on behalf of the charity. As the conversation evolved a number of sad elements began to seep through.

First, Israel as a nation, whether you be Jew, Christian or Moslem, prides itself on resources and care given to children. But here are 8,000 under 18 year olds, of all different ethnic backgrounds, often shoved far away from mainstream society. At the end of the day, this is no shining example to others.

And think of the realtive numbers. 8,000. Way too high and very disappointing. That is almost the size of the town, where I live.

This stat is not the whole story. The authorities receive approx 500 calls of distress every month. That works out at 15 a day. I did not ask, but I assumed that not every story is supported with an adequate response.

It would be easy to blame the parents. But some families just cannot cope for financial or health reasons. I believe that our anger should be directed to those, who appear to treat this as another issue to be shoved out of sight. These youngsters are an important part of our future, the future we work so hard to build with our own families and friends.

The meeting lasted close to two hours, way over schedule for me. I left departing with an uneasy feeling. Despite the worsening economic times approaching, Israel (nor other countries for that matter) cannot afford to ignore these special kids.

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