Disclaimer: This article does not serve to criticize the spending habits and decisions of Benjamin Netanyahu as much as it does to illuminate people’s materialistic spending habits. The fact of the matter is, a price tag has effectively been put on poverty, and with $35 billion, global poverty can be ended. Here is one example of how money could be better spent to work towards the eradication of poverty.
The culprit: Scented candles. Some people love them, others can’t stand them. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apparently can’t get enough of them. His residence in Jerusalem burned through $1,700 of scented candles in the last year, according to Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv. Netanyahu is often accused of excess as Israel’s middle class struggles financially.
A couple of Israeli non-profits may have spent that $1,700 better elsewhere. Café Galeria is a small-scale Israeli business employing people coping with psychological and emotional issues. Says one long-time employee, “It is fun to get up in the morning with a purpose, to see friends, to go to work, and to learn new things.” This routine might seem ordinary, but for people coping with psychological and emotional disabilities, there are times when a routine can be straining and challenging.
Café Galeria enables people to overcome these difficulties, to develop the self-confidence for employment, and to acquire the skills that will help them to build a foundation for future employment, to earn a living, and to contribute to community life. The café also serves as a gallery, displaying wall paintings and sculptures created by artists who are coping with psychological and emotional illnesses and possess talents in the arts.
Another growing and effective Israeli non-profit is Supportive Community: Women’s Development Center. The center serves thousands of women across Israel — new immigrants from the FSU and Ethiopia, native born Israelis (Jews and Arabs) from low income neighborhoods, women from agricultural settlements, Orthodox Jewish women, and multicultural groups.
A staff of seven professionals and more than 20 counselors and moderators help recently migrated women in Israel establish micro-businesses. This is often the only way for women in Israel with limited job prospects to achieve economic independence and mobilize themselves socially and personally.
For thousands of women who recently immigrated or come from less advantaged backgrounds, owning and operating a business opens the door to fuller integration into the Israeli society. The benefits of their newfound competence extends also to their families and their communities. To date, the organization has helped over 1,600 women. A donation of $1,700 to Supportive Community would enable multitudes of Israeli women to gain their own businesses and power.
As people make purchasing decisions this holiday season, consumers might keep in mind that they have purchasing power. Instead of ordering that two pack of cookie-scented candles for $35.99, try donating to an impactful poverty-addressing organization. Check out Crowdrise or Kickstarter to find the change-makers that speak to you.
– Paige Veidenheimer