Extraordinary Solidarity During Wartime
A new report from Tel Aviv University and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev reveals the widened scope of volunteering and donations in Israel during the Iron Swords War. Focusing on the third week of the war, the report's findings reflect a picture of unprecedented solidarity. Rates of volunteering and donations are much higher than figures recorded previously, both in quiet times and during crises.
The report was authored jointly by Dr. Osnat Hazan and Attorney Galia Feit from the Institute for Law and Philanthropy at Tel Aviv University, and Dr. Hagai Katz of Ben-Gurion University. It is based on the responses of 563 persons over 18 who represent Israeli society: women and men, Jews and non-Jews of different ages, education, income, and religious practice.
With regard to volunteering, the report indicates that 41% of the respondents had volunteered in one way or another including social and community initiatives, compared to 31% in 2019 and 22% in 2020.
At TAU specifically, a large body of students and faculty took it upon themselves to create a number of initiatives for which they enlisted over 1,000 student volunteers. These initiatives include childcare and educational support for survivors of October 7, cooking meals for soldiers, and bussing groups southward to help with agricultural work in fields that had to be left behind by those evacuated from war-ravaged areas. Additionally, when Sapir College in the south needed help contacting all 8,000 of its students to check their well-being, TAU gave its student union a campus space to conduct the calls and administrative work as well as bringing in 63 students and faculty to help call.
A Rise in Giving
As well as giving time, respondents to TAU’s survey reported much higher levels of donation than before the war. For example, the average weekly monetary donation per person is 458 NIS, which is almost double the sum documented in similar reports in the past. Nearly two thirds of the public (62%) gave either money or goods including breastmilk and blood donations to various initiatives. This percentage is much higher than figures reported in the previous years: 42% during COVID in 2020, and 47% in 2019.
At TAU, the Student Union started a donations drive for those evacuated from the Gaza border to the Tel Aviv area almost immediately after the war started.
Many Israelis even donated to more than one body: 62% of the donors contributed equipment, food, or other necessities to IDF soldiers and security forces; 53% gave to individuals or families hurt by the war, whether physically or through loss of loved ones; 21% donated to hospitals and rescue forces; 12% helped support the rehabilitation of evacuated communities; and 9% donated to other causes.