New Monthly Food Card for Israel’s Poor

President Reuven Rivlin with volunteers of the Leket Israel charity organization. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Governmental and private organizations have joined together to provide an innovative answer for Israelis who cannot afford the cost of groceries.

Welfare and Social Services Minister Haim Katz (Likud), Chabad’s Eshel Soup Kitchens in Yerushalayim and Leket Israel, announced on Monday their new project, the National Initiative for Ensuring Nutrition.

The key feature of the initiative will be a rechargeable 500-shekel “credit” card for food purchases every month. The one-year pilot program will be tried out in 36 localities, at a cost to the taxpayer of 60 million shekels, Arutz Sheva reported.

Tens of thousands of families who cannot make ends meet are expected to benefit from the program.

Each family that qualifies will receive a card for purchase of 250 shekels worth of food (excluding alcohol and tobacco, but not junk food) at designated stores. The card will also entitle them to receive 250 shekels worth of fruits, vegetables, and dried food from “food rescuers,” organizations that prevent food in good condition from being discarded.

“Today we are beginning a process which we hope will enable needy families to gain nutritional security during the entire year, in a respectable way,” Katz said. “This is an initiative which will include all sectors of the population, from all over Israel: North, south, center, chareidi, secular, Jews, and Arabs.

On the list of participating municipalities are: Ofakim, al-Batuf, Elad, Ariel, Baqa al-Gharbiyye, Beersheva, Beitar Illit, Jisr az-Zarqa, Dimona, Hagilboa, Hatzor HaGlilit, Yavne, Yeruham, Yerushalayim, Kafr Manda, Kafr Qasim, Karmiel, Lakhish, Lakiya, Migdal Haemek, Modi’in Illit, Ma’alot-Tarshiha, Nahariya, Neve Midbar, Netivot, Immanuel, Isfiya, Afula, Tzfas, Kiryat Yam, Kiryat Malachi, Rahat, Rechasim, Ramla, Sderot, and Tel Sheva.

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