Nearly one in five Israelis live below the poverty line, according to Israel’s National Insurance Institute. Ever-widening socioeconomic gaps are deeply affecting the country’s most vulnerable—the elderly, working poor, new immigrants, and single mothers are hit hardest among them. Many are unable to meet basic needs and have nowhere to turn for help.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein recognized this urgent need for people in dire circumstances to have one source to turn to in times of despair. His desire was to create an organization that ensured “all Israelis know they are never alone . . . they always have someone to turn to.”
In 2016, Rabbi Eckstein established the first national call center, where anyone in need could be heard and receive assistance and hope. Since that time, this phone line has been a source of hope to those who are in crisis in Israel. Here, trained operators—fluent in Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, English, French, and Spanish—answer calls and connect those in need with specific help. While social workers can typically take weeks or months to respond in urgent cases, the hotline is able to act immediately with help, arriving only hours after the initial phone conversation.