Ministry of Finance Places Israel’s LGBTQ Youth in Jeopardy

Update: We are happy to report that funds are now being released and that Hoshen and IGY can continue their very important educational programming for LGBTQ youth. We thank LGBTQ Leadership in the Knesset for intervening: Minister of Justice Amir Ohana, Itzik Shmuli, Eitan Ginzburg and Nitzan Horowitz

A Wider Bridge is deeply concerned about the draconian measure taken by the Israel Ministry of Finance to withhold funding from Hoshen, Israel’s LGBTQ education organization. Hoshen, a recipient of A Wider Bridge’s AWB Impact Grants initiative, relies heavily on the Ministry for funding LGBTQ curriculum and inclusion trainings at schools.

“Hoshen’s activities as a key education and advocacy organization for the LGBTQ community in Israel are being significantly affected by this decision,” said Tamar Yahel, CEO of Hoshen.

Founded in 2004, Hoshen partners with schools across Israel to conduct urgently needed LGBTQ awareness and sensitivity training. LGBTQ youth in Israel, like their peers around the world, continue to face physical and verbal harassment in school. For example, just last year, Osher Band, a 15-year-old transgender girl from Ashkelon, dropped out of school after being hospitalized by school bullies. Educators are often unequipped to address the needs of LGBTQ students and to provide a safe environment in the classroom. Hoshen fills this important void and works with students, parents, and educators to create LGBTQ inclusivity in the Jewish state.

Due to these budget cuts, Hoshen has been forced to cancel their at-risk LGBTQ youth educational programs in hundreds of schools affecting over 40,000 students. The organization is now in danger of closing.

A Wider Bridge calls upon Israel’s Ministry of Finance to release these funds immediately. Other organizations such as AWB Impact Grantee Israel Gay Youth have also had their programming funds withheld. We cannot risk losing key funding for LGBTQ youth.

A Wider Bridge is proud to invest in Hoshen and LGBTQ NGOs in Israel, building a stronger, more inclusive society. We call upon Israel’s Ministry of Finance to do the same.

You can read more about Hoshen and support them at https://www.hoshen.org/.