Edith Shamir-Tixell

Słowa kluczowe:
Israel, volunteer in crisis, social involvement, social media, WhatsApp, spontaneous volunteering


Spontaneous volunteerism in the daily routine in Israel: a preliminary report on the perception of value and effectiveness by episodic volunteers using WhatsApp applications


The spirit of volunteering lies at the core of the Jewish-Israeli culture. The establishment of the State of Israel relied on Zionist volunteers who had come to build the new country. Furthermore, the Bible, which refers to ‘secretly giving’ to others and includes the commandment to love your neighbour as yourself, encourages all people to help others in times of difficulty and distress.

However, studies show that the proportion of volunteers in Israel is only 20%, while the average for the OECD countries is 24% (OECD data base). Nevertheless, there is spontaneous volunteerism in Israel utilising digital media, messaging applications and social networks. This is both a recurrent phenomenon and a one-off effort during a crisis. This study analyses the growing phenomenon of spontaneous volunteerism utilising social media for the purpose of social involvement in Israel.

No prior studies of this phenomenon have been found. The aim is to describe the significance of episodic volunteering via WhatsApp as seen by the volunteers themselves and the volunteers’ perception of their own status in Israeli society. Moreover, the study examines the role of spontaneous volunteering in consolidating the volunteers’ sense of belonging to a community.

Two hundred and twenty-nine participants, all self-declared and self-organised as spontaneous volunteers using WhatsApp, replied to a web-based questionnaire, which was the research method used in the study. The results confirm that spontaneous volunteers via WhatsApp consider their occasional volunteering valuable and effective. They do not enjoy a distinct status in Israeli society but have a strong sense of closeness and belonging to a community.

The study also confirms that religious individuals volunteer spontaneously, men and women alike show high commitment to contributing in times of crisis and the participants’ perception of the public as willing to volunteer in times of crisis is high.

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