In honor of Ramadan, food vouchers totaling 1 million NIS will be provided to 2,600 needy families in the Arab community by the International Fellowship of Christian and Jews (IFCJ), headed by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. Welfare departments throughout 69 municipalities, which the IFCJ provides assistance to on a regular basis, will distribute this aid. Mr. Hamed Elian, Assistant Director of the Welfare Office in East Jerusalem stated that: “The support we receive from IFCJ throughout the year is what saves these families from hunger. It is a light at the end of the tunnel for our population, a population in deep poverty, and economic and social need.” “This aid helps return hope to the lives of the people and is the only assistance that the residents of East Jerusalem receive,” he added.
Fasting on Ramadan began today, Thursday, June 18 and the holiday will conclude either on July 17 or 18 depending on the number of days in a lunar month. The holiday is followed by most of the 1.6 billion Muslims across the world. Eilan also noted that the percentage of poverty is high in East Jerusalem—with 75% of the families and 84% of children living below the poverty line. In 2015 alone, the IFCJ provided roughly 20 million NIS in aid to the needy among Israel’s Arab population and 140 milion NIS in the past few years. IFCJ’s flagship “Kupot Yedidut” program disburses much of this aid by providing 77 welfare departments throughout Israel with the means to purchase basic needs, such as food, medicine, clothing, transportation to medical treatments, and electrical appliances, among others, for needy families. IFCJ also supports programs for at-risk-Arab youth and single mothers. The IFCJ’s “Bekhavod U’Beyedidut” (“With Dignity and Fellowship”) program provides needy elderly – from all sectors, including Arab municipalities and East Jerusalem – with food, medicine and home visits. Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, President of the IFCJ commented that President Rubi Rivlin “recently appealed to the citizens of Israel to strengthen the spirit of solidarity among its various ethnic groups.”
“We believe that if the State of Israel and its nonprofit organizations would support minority communities in equal measure to the support they provide Jewish populations, then the resulting sense of belonging and respect would strengthen Israeli society as a whole,” declared Rabbi Eckstein.
“I wish our Muslim brothers a Ramadan Kareem—and hope that our aid will make it possible for thousands of families to celebrate the holiday with dignity and joy,” said Rabbi Eckstein.