Joint ini­tia­tive helps out 4,000 at-risk stu­dents

The Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • By Jerusalem Post Staff

A $5.7m. pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship will pro­vide a new home-away-from-home for more than 4,000 at-risk stu­dents who at­tend board­ing schools across the coun­try. The project is a joint ini­tia­tive of the In­ter­na­tional Fel­low­ship of Chris­tians and Jews (IFCJ), the La­bor and So­cial Af­fairs Min­istry, and the Is­raeli Pub­lic Fo­rum for Youth Vil­lages and Board­ing Schools for Chil­dren at Risk.

Un­der the part­ner­ship, 40 of the most di­lap­i­dated board­ing schools through­out the coun­try will be ren­o­vated. Th­ese are schools that pro­vide a home­away-from-home for many of the 10,000 young peo­ple who are vic­tims of phys­i­cal abuse, sex­ual as­sault or ne­glect, and are con­sid­ered at-risk youth.

The min­istry, led by Haim Katz, will fi­nance about $2.8m., while the IFCJ, led by Rabbi Yechiel Eck­stein, will con­trib­ute $2.27m. The fo­rum, led by Is­rael Prize lau­re­ate Avi Naor, will con­trib­ute $570,000.

“Th­ese young chil­dren are not re­spon­si­ble for the dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances they en­dure, and they de­serve the best pos­si­ble homes that we can pro­vide,” said Eck­stein, af­ter tour­ing the Neve Tze­lim board­ing school in Ramot Hashavim, one of the build­ings sched­uled to re­ceive the re­pairs.

“A home that is pleas­ant and invit­ing re­in­forces a feel­ing of be­long­ing, fos­ter­ing a homey at­mos­phere of warmth and love that th­ese chil­dren and ado­les­cents so des­per­ately lack,” Katz said.

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