The youth movement Krembo Wings (Knafayim Shel Krembo), which brings together children with and without special needs, was forced to cancel summer camps due to a cut in government funding, the movement said on Sunday.
“To our great sadness and disappointment, support from the various ministries has declined significantly, placing us on the brink of a budgetary and cash flow crisis, which has forced us to make difficult and complex decisions to ensure the continuation of the movement,” they wrote. Talia Harel Bejerano, CEO of Krembo Wings, and Stav Weitz, National Operations Manager at the movement.
The movement noted that canceling the summer camps is a first step in the movement’s effort to cut costs in order to continue operating.
“The summer camp has been Krembo Wings’ most important project for more than a decade. We are aware of its importance to our members and their families. Nevertheless, we must act responsibly to ensure the future functioning of the movement, until a large audience support is organized for the character and breadth of operations,” the movement added.
“We believe in the importance and significance of Krembo Wings to Israeli society, and we are confident that our partners in the Ministry of Welfare will provide a solution to the crisis we are in for the well-being of all members and their families,” wrote Bejerano and Weitz.
Krembo Wings was founded by social entrepreneur Adi Altshuler in 2002 when she was just 16 as the first youth movement to integrate young people with and without special needs. About 9,000 young people participate in the movement in 92 chapters across the country.
Mayors express their outrage at the cuts to the youth movement
News of the cancellation of the movement’s summer camps sparked outrage from a number of mayors across Israel, including Givatayim mayor Ran Kunik and Ramat Gan mayor Carmel Shama Hacohen.
Kunik tweeted that the letter was “saddened” and added, “I don’t even want to think that this will not be resolved and the budget for this great camp will not be found.”
Shama Hacohen called the decision to cut the movement’s funding “a moral and ethical crime”, and stressed that the Ramat Gan Municipality would step in to cover the shortfall created by the cuts.
“Mr. Prime Minister, don’t give your hand to such a cruel decision. There is no more serious moral charge. Not every city has the ability to handle this sacred operation and prevent damage,” the mayor wrote on Facebook.
On Sunday evening, Yesh Atid MK Simon Davidson submitted an urgent question to Minister of Welfare and Social Affairs Yaakov Mergi about the cuts, expressing the hope that a solution would be found soon.
Last week, Mergi announced that his ministry would “significantly increase” the budget for social programs, including for families in need, people with disabilities, the elderly and at-risk youth.
Social media users also expressed outrage at the news, with some pointing to a comment made by a member of the Noam party, whose coalition member MK Avi Maoz is the head.
In 2020, Igal Canaan, who was third on the Noam Party’s list at the time, published a post claiming that Krembo Wings is based on “Christian views to connect with the ‘weak'” and to frame men as ” a weak being” and masculinity as “superfluous”.
Canaan additionally called the movement “anti-nationalist, anti-Jewish, anti-masculinity, anti-excellence and anti-power”, as well as “a secret agent for progressivism”. It is unclear whether the leader of his party shares his views.