Netanyahu Meets with NGOs

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu told representatives of 30 NGOs (non-governmental organizations) that he would work with them during these trying economic times.

"We all face a recession, which has already affected the lives of many Israelis," Netanyahu told meeting participants.

"My goal is to hear from the non-profit sector about how together we can find a solution and draft a socio-economic policy that will benefit everyone," he said.

"We will not discriminate against any citizen of Israel, Arab or Jew," said Netanyahu, adding that one of his goals is to spread the relative prosperity in the center of the country to the poorer regions in the Negev and the Galilee.

Many participants were encouraged by the meeting, which was held in the Knesset.

"I really believe he was listening to us," Ran Melamed told Jerusalem Post reporter Ruth Eglash.

"It lasted for three hours and he gave everyone the chance to speak," he said.

Melamed said though the prime minister-designate didn't make "hard promises," he did make some concrete suggestions such as reducing certain taxes and continuing the link between the government and the NGOs.

"He told us that the recession was a good time to make structural changes and that he would explore ways to further incorporate NGOs into the social welfare sector," Melamed said.

In December, Ben Gurion University of the Negev published a study revealing that one-third of the nation's 22,200 non-profit organizations, which provide a broad range of services, including food distribution, had begun cutbacks due to the recession.

The study estimated that as many as 4,000 NGOs could potentially close down due to the recession.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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