ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 144

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Nonprofit for special needs kids says summer camp back on thanks to donations

Krembo Wings, which serves 9,000 children nationwide, gets money from Discount Bank and other businesses, but warns cuts in state funding still mean it may close branches

Screen capture from video of the Krembo Wings 2022 summer camp. (YouTube; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Screen capture from video of the Krembo Wings 2022 summer camp. (YouTube; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

A nonprofit organization that aids children with special needs announced Tuesday that it had received donations enabling it to go ahead with an annual summer camp, after announcing earlier this month that it would be forced to cancel the activity due to a cut in state funding.

Krembo Wings was established in 2002 to provide a range of activities for children with physical, cognitive, and other disabilities. It says it serves around 9,000 members in 92 branches around the country.

Chief executive officer Talia Harel Bejerano said in a statement the cash needed for the camp came from Discount Bank and other unnamed companies. She did not reveal the size of the donations.

“This is very happy news for the thousands of movement activists and their families who are waiting for the summer camp as an accessible and suitable vacation for them,” Harel Bejerano said.

However, Harel Bejerano warned that the organization is still lacking in funding and as a result will likely have to close some of its branches.

“It is the state’s turn to back Krembo Wings, and to guarantee its support with funding and not just with words, in order to remove the threat of branch closures once and for all,” she stated.

Two weeks ago Krembo Wings said it would need to make “difficult decisions” due to an urgent cashflow problem, and that it was canceling the summer camp.

“Support from various government ministries has dropped significantly,” the organization wrote in a letter to parents. “This has brought us to the brink of a budgetary and cashflow crisis, which has forced us to make difficult and complicated decisions in order to ensure the continuation of our activities.”

In response, the Welfare and Social Services Ministry blamed the last government for the cut, saying that the former coalition had allowed a greater range of nonprofits to be recognized, leading to a smaller allotment to each eligible organization. The statement from the ministry added that it was working to increase financial backing in the 2023-2024 budget.

Meanwhile, the current government has come under intense criticism for earmarking NIS 13.7 billion ($3.7 billion) in discretionary funds from the coming state budget to fulfill political promises, with much of the funds allocated to support ultra-Orthodox institutions and programs.

The government has until May 29 to pass the full budget on the Knesset floor or risk automatically triggering a new election. Partisan coalition demands are reportedly forcing the Finance Ministry to make cuts to a number of ministries.

According to a Tuesday report from the Makor Rishon outlet, in 2019 the state budgeted NIS 13 million $3.5 million to 14 nonprofits that provide services for the disabled community. Of that, Krembo Wings took NIS 8.3 million ($2.26 million). The number of nonprofits included in the budget has been rising ever since and in 2022, under the Bennett-Lapid government. NIS 11.5 million ($3.13 million) was budgeted but divided among 25 nonprofits. Krembo Wings received just NIS 4.1 million ($1.12 million) then, the report said.

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