Last year Bank Leumi launched an interesting drive to help small charities in Isreal. Called “Millions of Reasons”, they invited small charities to make up a video explaining their group, and these were put on the Leumi Youtube channel. Bank Leumi pledged to give money to the top charities, and let the people decide who should qualify by voting by internet. Not only did the small charities earn money, they received a lot of good publicity and volunteers.
This year they decided to run the drive again. Unfortunately, the left wing group Peace Now has killed it. Im Tirzu, a group that promotes Zionism on Israeli campuses, was in the top five charities in the competition. Peace Now threatened Bank Leumi that they would have all of their members close their bank accounts with Bank Leumi if they didn’t disqualify them from the competition (claiming that the organization is political. It seems that to Peace Now, Zionism means right wing.) Bank Leumi refused to do this, and when the left wingers continued their protests they decided to cancel the drive altogether.
You have no idea how awful this is. If you look at the charities represented, you will see a wide range of organizations that help both people and animals. Soup kitchens, battered women’s shelters, organizations that help children with disabilities, animal shelters, health organizations fighting diseases like ALS, and an umbrella organization helping gays and lesbians, are just some of the 139 charities that will now not receive needed funds and publicity.
It makes me want to cry. I was about to write a post asking my readers to vote for “Knefaim shel Krembo” -(they were number five on the list when the competition was halted) the only Israeli youth group for teenagers with disabilities, which doesn’t receive government funding. My son volunteers for this group once a week, and the teenager he helps is someone who can blink his eyes and smile, but he cannot move any other muscle in his body. This boy gets out and has a social activity once a week thanks to this organization, that is dependent on donations and volunteers. If Knefaim had made the top ten, they would have received 200,000 shekels.
I urge you to go see what this wonderful group does.