Leket Beet August 2022

The monthly update for our most dedicated supporters from Gidi Kroch

The Cost of the High Cost of Living

Last year, Tel Aviv received the infamous honor of being named the most expensive city in the world. Up until a few days ago, the price of gas was $9.00 p/gallon and forget about buying real estate in Israel, especially if you are a young couple. The cost of living is rising in Israel and everywhere around the globe. This is all in the news and in discussion both in Israel and in other countries. What they’re not discussing, is the welfare of those that are currently struggling and who will certainly be struggling even more, as prices continue to rise.

I recently had a call with The Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs, and they explained to me, that there is a new layer to this already horrible situation – Elections. As of September 1st, until a new government is formed, no new programs will be created. Ministers across all parties are prohibited from approving any new expenses out of concern that they will use public funds to advance themselves and their parties during the election season and during the formulation of a new government. On one hand, yes, it’s very reasonable, correct? But on the other hand, the earliest a government can be formed is December 2022 and Israel does not have a great track record of forming governments lately.

So yes, most everyone will suffer to some degree from the rising prices and also from the elections, but there are many that will suffer a lot more than others, and this time the government’s hands will be tied. This is the sad truth and the proof that no one sees these “invisible people” in Israel.

A few days ago, I was interviewed by academics regarding food security and Leket’s role in this situation. One of the questions they asked me was if I believed that the food aid agencies in Israel were exacerbating the problem of food insecurity by giving “fish instead of rods”. Truthfully, I almost lost it because only people who have never suffered from food insecurity or worked with people who suffer from food insecurity, could ask such a question. I kept my cool (of course) and explained that while, yes, I agree that it is the government’s responsibility to take care of those less fortunate, the government hasn’t been doing it for the last 74 years, as the problem is so significant (20% of the population in Israel experiences some form of food insecurity) that by now no one wants to touch this issue with a 10 footpole. It is therefore left to those of us, like Leket Israel, who have been working diligently in this field for the past 20 years. Additionally, and it pains me to say this, there is no benefit for the politicians to address the issue of food insecurity in this elections season. Achieving food security is an arduous process, and in the capitalistic world in which we live, there will never be 100% food security, so why should lawmakers invest their time on an issue that will not bring immediate results?

Reaching 100% food security might be a pipe dream but living in a country with a 20% food insecure population is unnecessary. There are solutions available to help these people rise out of their situation. Leket preaches food rescue because we believe that it can mitigate this issue very efficiently by using the leverage we offer. For every $1 invested in Leket, we produce at least $4 worth of food. We are constantly looking for new ways to improve our operations. Last year, Leket developed a soup program – creating fresh frozen soups from our surplus of the rescued vegetables, amounting in 10,000 pints every week. Today, I signed an agreement with an NPO that will code software for Leket, developing a software program that will utilize satellites to find ripe fields in time for Leket to harvest (all pro-bono). And tomorrow? We always have something new in the works.

Leket is committed to do more, and to rescue more food in order to alleviate the immediate struggle of those in need of food support. We will be there whether there is a government or no government but always with your generosity and continued support.

Questions, comments or feedback? Please contact [email protected]

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