When you think of ministry and serving the people of Israel, dental care is probably not your first thought. But what if we told you that God has been moving powerfully through medical professionals in that field?
How is that possible? We’d love to tell you! Let us introduce you to one of FIRM’s local ministry partners, HaTikva Project, and their superb work through HaTikva Dental.
Dental Care in Israel
Israel has a socialized medicine system, which means the government provides universal coverage to its residents as part of a national health insurance law. However, it does not include dental care in Israel after the age of 12.
The only available options are either paid government dental care or astronomically priced privatized care. Complex treatments can cost a multiplication of a person’s monthly salary. Over 50% of the population cannot afford adequate dental care.
Evan Levine, Executive Director of HaTikva Project, saw this challenge as an opportunity to help and bless people. The idea was to run a dental practice that would be attainable to those that cannot afford to address their dental issues while still providing excellent care.
In short, HaTikva Dental Clinics provide essential dental treatments at subsidized prices to those in financial need.
The first HaTikva Clinic opened in 2015, but the vision has already been in the works for a couple years by then.
It was two years of intense planning, legal process, vision casting, and fundraising. Finally, it paid off at the grand opening – a new kind of a dental clinic was introduced to the busy central streets of Jerusalem.
“I can’t put it into words how fantastic it felt to see through to the finish a vision that the Lord had planted,” Evan Levine said that day.
From its inception, the dental facility’s mission has been vastly different from any dental care provided in Israel. Operated by messianic believers, its model was always to provide the highest quality care, and by doing so, subsidize care for the needy.
At government and privatized dental care facilities, dental professionals receive commission per number of patients. At HaTikva, the employees get hourly compensation instead. Why? It eliminates the incentive to rush patients out the door.
Israel Dental Care in the Name of Yeshua
But the overshadowing motivation to open the clinic has always been to represent Yeshua, and the messianic body, to the community. Hatikva Dental doesn’t hide who they are, and even their website openly states:
“Our inspiration to serve the public is found in the teachings of Yeshua, whose core message is to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves.”
Evan’s wife, Elisa, is a hygienist at the clinic, and plays a major role in the vision for the business. She oversees the standard of care, having worked as a licensed dental hygienist in Israel and the United States.
Despite the sensitivity, the Levines have been forthright about their beliefs to all who helped set up the HaTikva Clinic, including government agencies.
“We can take on spheres of public influence and succeed for the glory of Yeshua,” added Evan.
“We are doing this because Yeshua said the greatest commandment was to love the Lord your God with all your heart, strength and soul,” he continued. “And the second is to love your neighbor as yourself, so this is an offshoot of our faith!”
Before Opening a Clinic
Evan and Elisa are both Jewish believers who grew up in the USA. They made Aliyah and moved to Israel in 2009 with the same heart and vision—to be a part of the messianic community in Israel. And to serve.
They established HaTikva Project, an Israeli charity, in 2013. Its focus is to meet the needs of the poor, oppressed and needy Jewish believers in Israel. But also, to bring the gospel to the Jewish people who have not yet met the Messiah.
HaTikva Project has been meeting the needs of those in the messianic body who are in financial crisis. These include single parents, widows and orphans, holocaust survivors and others. One of their initiatives is HaTikva Families, promoting adoption and foster care in Israel.
Upon realizing the needs in dental care in Israel, HaTikva Project decided to start a new initiative, called HaTikva Dental.
Sharing the Gospel Through Health Service
Because the first HaTikva clinic turned out to be a success, the ministry took big steps to continue fulfilling their vision. That is, their dream was to open similar clinics also in the northern and southern parts of the country.
In 2017, Hatikva Dental opened its second clinic in Haifa, to serve Israelis in need who live in the North. Meanwhile, despite restrictions during the pandemic, the Jerusalem clinic moved to a new location, to accommodate the increasing number of patients.
“I really want believers to be known all throughout Israel. And for people to be able to say, ‘oh, you need dental care? Go to the messianic believers. They give the best dental care that there is in Israel.’” Evan is very open about his faith and ministry.
He sees every branch of their work, every new initiative of HaTikva Project, to be an opportunity for outreach. “We’re equipped and we’re ready for whatever the Lord wants to do.”
More than Dental Care to Bless Israel
Tomer is a young Ethiopian man who lives by himself and works long, hard hours just to get by. He suffered from a gum disease that rapidly deteriorated from lack of treatment. Tomer did not think he could afford dental care in Israel. But then he heard of a HaTikva clinic.
After an initial evaluation, HaTikva Dental offered Tomer an additional discount, allowing him to get the care he needed. Thanks to this option, which proved to be affordable, Tomer could receive a full oral rehabilitation, which lifted his spirits.
HaTikva staff not only serves patients like Tomer with excellence each day. They also ensure each of them leaves their clinic feeling encouraged and loved.
Tomer is just one example of a person in Israel that needed both practical help and to hear a message of hope. HaTikva Project was there for him in his hour of need, and FIRM is honored to partner with a ministry like theirs.
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The Tribe is a passionate and faithful group of monthly donors on a mission to transform lives in Israel through the love of Jesus.
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