Abandoning Cancer Patients in Israel’s Periphery


A cancer diagnosis can force a family into bankruptcy or homelessness. Long treatment protocols that bring a long list of extra expenses, like childcare, household help, transportation and loss of income all contribute to this risk. Some patients, no matter how hard working, can easily get to a point where they cannot pay rent and eviction becomes a threat.

These difficulties are ten-fold in Israel’s under-served periphery. The gross inequalities, shortages and shortcomings are well documented. And well known. From a severe shortage in oncology inpatient beds (Hebrew), to glaringly worse outcomes in periphery communities. No one disputes the facts. Lawmakers meet, deliberate.

But no concrete solutions are on the horizon.

At the Lemonade Fund, we don’t profess to have the answer. Israel is still a young country, with growing pains and cultural divides that are formidable.

But we also know that this is no comfort to desperate cancer patients living in Israel’s periphery communities, who are crushed under the financial, logistic and healthcare service deficits determined by their address. An address that says they are part of the brave, pioneering spirit that settled Israel’s northern and southern-most reaches. Or continuing centuries-old traditions of nomadic culture, or are part of a multigenerational mosaic of village life.

That’s why we created the Empowering the Periphery project. To allow us to give the extra help these patients need. And deserve.