Many of us are familiar with Israel’s vibrant nonprofit organizations and the important work they do. What most of us don’t realize, however, is just how big an impact Israel’s nonprofit sector has on the country and its people.
In fact, as a percentage of the country’s total GDP and the number of people employed, Israel has one of the largest nonprofit industries in the world. Following the business and public sectors, Israel had an estimated 43,000 registered nonprofits as of 2016, an impressive number considering the total size of the country.
The work and impact of Israeli nonprofits can be seen in nearly every area within Israel society. Whether it’s agriculture, music, social welfare, animals, technology, business financing, environment, culture, human rights, healthcare, international aid, or education, Israeli nonprofit organizations are fully ingrained into Israeli life and the economy.
One of the reasons Israel nonprofit sector is so robust dates to the 1990s, when the Israeli government started to privatize key public services. Israel actively shifted the responsibility for specific social services to both the business and nonprofit sectors, which resulted in some of Israel’s non-profit organizations playing a core role in essential social services nationally. One such example is NATAL, a nonprofit who serves as the defacto service provider for Israelis suffering from symptoms related to PTSD.
As of 2015, the nonprofit sector accounted for an estimated 67 billion NIS (about $22 billion USD) to the Israeli economy, or over 5% of total GDP. The nonprofit sector also employed as of 2015 as estimated 470,000 people, which accounted for nearly 14% of the entire workforce in Israel! In addition to the tens of thousands of registered nonprofits, there are an estimated 3,500 active registered Israeli foundations Israel, whose core function is funding of grants such as scholarships to individuals and large gifts to major institutional organizations.
As you can see, Israel’s nonprofit sector not only has a big impact on the individuals it serves, but also plays a major role in the country’s economy. Because Israel’s nonprofit organizations are such a key part of core services for healthcare, education, and social services, they really do impact the lives of millions of Israelis every day.