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Remembering Those that Still Aren’t Free
This Pessah, let’s take a moment to think of those who are still fighting for freedom from modern-day forms of slavery: poverty, domestic violence, addiction and more.

On Passover, as we celebrate the freedom of the Jewish people from slavery in ancient Egypt, WIZO remembers those who are still not free. Today, the weakest among us are no longer slaves to Pharaoh, but are caught in cycles of domestic violence, chronic poverty or simply “slipping through the cracks” of a leaky and inadequate social system.

Domestic Violence

200,000 women in Israel are victims of domestic violence, meaning that they have experienced physical, verbal and emotional abuse at the hands of their husbands, boyfriends and partners. The vicious cycle of domestic violence very much resembles slavery, as despite the terror and anguish, victims find it next to impossible to leave their abusive partners, the result of which can – and sometimes does – lead to their deaths.

Tragically, children who witness their parents’ violent and abusive relationships often grow up to find themselves in similar situations, thus allowing the cycle to extend to another generation.
The Numbers
•200,000 Israeli women are victims of domestic violence (WIZO)
•8.6% of Israeli children have been exposed to domestic violence
(University of Haifa & NCC Study)
•In 2013, 19 women were murdered by their partners
What are we doing about it?
•Women’s Shelters – WIZO runs two women’s shelters in Israel that care for 80 women and 100
children, as well as three centers for the treatment and prevention of domestic violence
•Knesset Lobbying – WIZO employs a Knesset lobbyist who routinely proposes breaking
initiatives to the government to more effectively address domestic violence
•Hotline for Abusive Men – WIZO operates a help line for men to receive psychological help to
break the cycle of violence
Poverty

One third of Israeli children live below the poverty line. Their parents struggle to provide them with the basic necessities: food, clothing and shelter.
The Numbers
•Israel has the highest poverty rate among OECD countries (OECD)
•9.3% of people in Israel reported they could not afford to buy enough food (Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development)
•Nearly 1 million Israeli children live below the poverty line
What are we doing about it?
•Day Care Centers: WIZO serves 14,000 children in almost 200 day care centers across Israel,
with subsidies for low-income families. 1600 children and their families also enjoy extended day
services (including hot meals, from 7am-7pm) for parents who work long hours
•Hotline for Parents – WIZO runs a free help line for parents who need advice or counseling on
parenting difficulties
Youth At-Risk

are considered at-risk, a term that includes everything from at-risk for prostitution and drug abuse to academic under performance and dropping out of school to becoming victims of sexual, physical, verbal and emotional abuse. Regardless of what exactly they are at risk for – without intervention, these problems in their young lives are liable to haunt them forever.
The Numbers
•48.5% of Israeli children (nearly 1/2) have suffered some form of abuse – physical (14.1%), mental, emotional and sexual (17.6%) (University of Haifa & NCC Study)
•11% of Israeli youths abuse drugs (Israeli Anti-Drug Authority)
What are we doing about it?
•Youth Villages and Schools: WIZO runs eight youth villages and schools which serve some 5000
youth, approximately 1000 of whom are considered at risk and live in the dormitories
•Youth Clubs: Over 5,000 students benefit from educational and support services offered by
WIZO’s youth clubs
•Girls-at-risk: WIZO cares for hundreds of girls-at-risk at 27 centers
•Foster care: WIZO provides foster homes for 166 children and therapeutic residential services in
four ‘Neve WIZO’ homes for 32 children
Women’s Empowerment

Israeli women are underrepresented in power positions in business, industry and both national and local government, and earn significantly less than their male counterparts.
The Numbers
•13-17% salary gap between men and women working similar positions (National Insurance
Institution). The average salary gaps
between men and women is 34% (CBS)
•67.3% of the bottom socioeconomic decile of Israeli society are women, and only 23.3% of the
top most decile (CBS & State Comptroller)
•Of the 68 directors general of government-owned corporations appointed in 2012, none were
women; in the current government, only 6 women (of 30) serve as directors of government
ministries (CBS & State Comptroller)
•17% of directors of top firms are women, with only two women serving on the boards of
directors of Israel’s 22 biggest firms (CBS & State Comptroller)
•15% of lecturers with tenure in academia are women (CBS & State Comptroller)
What are we doing about it?
•Professional and leadership training – 10,000 women participate in WIZO’s leadership and
empowerment programs
•Back to work: 5,340 women participate in back-to-work programs to help them re-enter the labor
market after absences due to child raising
•Legal advice and informational services: 30 subsidized legal advice bureaus serve thousands of
women annually; hotline for women’s rights in the workplace
•Empowerment for girls: WIZO Israel runs leadership development programs for girls, educational
programs to promote women in the sciences and a host of other empowerment programs

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