Why Israelis Don’t Donate

Israelis don’t donate.

This according to a paper presented by Hebrew University’s Dr. Nissan Limor at yesterday’s Caesarea Economic Policy Planning Forum. The report states that Israeli nonprofit organizations are dependent on government for their funding; this impairs both their independence and quashes their innovation.

In asking why don’t Israelis donate more, Limor’s research team states “it is because the government doesn’t encourage it”. Limor continues, “It isn’t a question of culture, but of policy. Philanthropy needs encouragement. The Israeli government never did encourage it. Incentives for donors are quite limited.”

Including donations from abroad, the support for nonprofit organizations in Israel is second only to the United States. A study by Johns Hopkins University found that donations are equivalent to 1.34% of gross domestic product, compared with 1.85% in the United States. However the rate for donations by Israelis alone is 0.8% of GDP, less than in most Western countries.

The research team urges the government to revisit its policy regarding the third sector, noting the widening gaps in society. Incentives for individuals and corporations should be introduced.