War Survey: 83% of Israeli NGOs Impacted, Mixed Responses to Government Aid, Surge in Foreign Support

War Survey: 83% of Israeli NGOs Impacted, Mixed Responses to Government Aid, Surge in Foreign Support
20th March 2024 Moriah Aharon

The horrific attack by Hamas on Israeli civilians on 7th October, sparked the Iron Swords War and led to a widespread mobilisation effort to support Israel. New survey revealed that 83% of the NGOs’ ability to provide assistance and social services was negatively impacted by the war, only 35% of organisations sought government assistance during the war, and 35% of the NGOs reported an increase in philanthropic support from abroad.

A survey conducted at the Hebrew University by Professor Michal Almog-Bar, head of the Institute for the study of Civil Society and Philanthropy in collaboration with Civil Leadership the umbrella organisation of non-profit organisations in Israel, analysed the widespread mobilisation effort in Israel following the terrorist attack by Hamas on 7th October 2023. 73% of the NGOs surveyed significantly expanded their activities and services during the war because of the rising needs. 87% of the NGOs established new services and 84% reported rise in the demand for their services and 75% reported a sharp increase in the number of clients served. However, the survey also revealed that 83% of the NGOs’ ability to provide services was negatively impacted by the war. This manifested in various ways, such as having to cope with staff absences as they served in the reserves and supporting staff who were impacted by the war.

Only 35% of NGOs sought government assistance during the war, mainly because that they did not have a prior contract with government and because of the lack of flexibility and red tape involved in forming such relations, highlighting the gap between additional activities and available resources. Lack of resources remained a significant issue, with only 10% of NGOs reporting an increase in government support, while 21% reported a decrease in government funding during the war. A significant resource of funding, support from foundations and donors within Israel, also decreased for about a quarter of the NGOs during the war.

However, 35% of the NGOs reported an increase in support from philanthropic foundations and high net worth donors from abroad, mainly from North America. About half (48%) reported an increase in the number of volunteers and volunteer hours. Additionally, about a quarter of the surveyed NGOs reported an increase in fundraising from the public.

Despite all the challenges they faced and the notable lack of resources in , 82% of surveyed NGOs believed their activities during the war effectively helped support Israeli society. This underscores the importance of recognising and supporting the contributions of civil society, especially during crises.

Prof Michal Almog-Bar: “The picture that emerges from the study is that a considerable expansion of the activity of civil society in Israel due to the rising social needs during the war, was enacted despite the lack of appropriate resources and budgeting on the part of the government and foundations. Considering the wearing down of the voluntary activity and civic initiatives that stood out at the beginning of the war. In the long term, the NGOs are a major player in helping the Israeli home front during the war, in helping evacuees and other populations affected by the war. They will not be able to continue their work and assistance to the populations affected by the war without additional resources”.

The final report highlighted an unprecedented mobilisation across the civilian sector, with various social NGOs, voluntary civic initiatives, philanthropic bodies, and individuals joining forces under the banner of “Defending Our Home.” The findings prove that there is a clear need to focus on the needs and vulnerabilities of civil society in Israel. Strengthening their capacity and providing appropriate support will enable them to continue providing essential services to the population, particularly during crises and in post-war rehabilitation efforts.

Attorney Ron Barkai: “In Israel’s most difficult and complex moments as a nation, the social NGOs are at the forefront of dealing with the most sensitive and vulnerable populations in Israeli society, without proper government support and without basic conditions for success.”

The research paper titled “Israeli Social Nonprofit Organizations in the Iron Swords War” can be accessed here 

Methodology: The research was conducted via an online survey between 15.12.2023-15.2.2024 with 251 CEOs of Israeli nonprofit organization.

Michal Almog-Bar1, Ron Barkai2, Bareket Shunim-Halevi1

1) The Institute for the Study of Civil Society and Philanthropy, School of Social Work and Social Welfare, Hebrew University.
2) Civil Leadership

Disclaimer: In these challenging times of war and crisis, Hebrew University of Jerusalem is resolute in its dedication to advancing research and education. We stand in full support of the brave individuals on the frontlines, safeguarding our nation and the well-being of all Israelis, and extend our deepest gratitude and unwavering solidarity to our community and fellow citizens. Together, we shall prevail against the challenges that confront us, and our shared commitment to the well-being of all Israelis and the pursuit of knowledge remains resolute.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is Israel’s premier academic and research institution. Serving over 23,000 students from 80 countries, the University produces nearly 40% of Israel’s civilian scientific research and has received over 11,000 patents. Faculty and alumni of the Hebrew University have won eight Nobel Prizes and a Fields Medal. For more information about the Hebrew University, please visit http://new.huji.ac.il/en.