A Just Society
Mohammed Yunis was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year. He is the founder of Grameen Bank, which is widely lauded for lifting millions of Bangladeshi peasants out of poverty through his micro-lending initiatives. It is argued however, that his success has less to do with the amount of credit extended, than with the accompanying behavioral changes that he demands. The inability to change local cultural norms leads to failure.
Each wave of immigration to Israel brings with it its treasures, but also its problems. The latest Aliyah of Ethiopians is no exception. It isn't just a question of objective poverty, it is also that poverty is a cultural problem. In addition, the Ethiopians are faced with their own particular situation. They are faced with racism, because their skin is black, and they are looked down as having a primitive culture. In short, they face wide spread discrimination in Israel.
There are supplementary programs designed to ameliorate the situation. Some of them involve people going into the lives of the Ethiopians to help them navigate the twentieth first century. But when they leave, when the door is closed, then what happens? The following project envisages a more integrated approach.
We envisage taking some 25 future leaders of the Ethiopian community and for some years, integrating them with a community of 25 self sufficient Israelis/Westerners who are financially self-sufficient, who have professions probably in the Tel Aviv or Jerusalem area. After some years of total integration, while respecting cultural differences, it is envisioned that these leaders would return to their communities. It will be necessary to supply cheap rental and possibly the means of livelihood to get these future leaders through university to achieve a profession.
We are of the opinion that any spiritual connection with God is inadequate if it cannot make a contribution to His reality in this world - namely to help people who need our help now.