Israel’s Pro-life Organization Turns to the War Effort

JERUSALEM, Israel — Nir Salomon can tell many success stories about Efrat, the pro-life organization that has saved more than 85,000 babies in Israel since its founding in 1977, but perhaps the proudest is one that happened recently — in Gaza.

Salomon received a call from a father whose son is fighting with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in Gaza. His entire unit — some 280 soldiers strong — had deployed in warm weather, but now lacked winter gear. He heard Efrat had some coats. Could he help?

As it happened, Salomon had 300 coats left — the last remainder of 10,000 soft-shell jackets that Efrat had bought for soldiers. Normally, Efrat specializes in delivering baby clothes, diapers, formula, strollers, and even cribs to new mothers, helping them through the first two years of a child’s life.

Baby supplies await packing at the warehouse of Efrat, a pro-life organization in Jerusalem, Israel, that helps new mothers. (Joel Pollak / Breitbart News)

Equipping soldiers was something new — and it had gone so well that the entire stock was almost gone. Salomon was reluctant to part with almost every coat he had left. But the father made a special appeal:

“This soldier was born because of you.”

Twenty years earlier, his parents, already struggling to make ends meet with two previous children to care for, considered an abortion when a third pregnancy came around. But Efrat stepped in — and the son born twenty years ago is in the IDF today.

“That boy you saved is now protecting your life,” the father told Salomon.

Needless to say, the unit received the coats.

That was when it dawned on Salomon: Efrat hasn’t just saved babies; it has saved 10,000 future soldiers.

Efrat — named after a Hebrew Biblical reference to the character of Miriam, who saved her brother Moses, among other babies — is the premier pro-life organization in Israel. (Full disclosure: this author has donated to Efrat for more than a decade.)

Breitbart News met Salomon at the Efrat warehouse on a rainy, windy afternoon in Jerusalem, as dozens of teenage girls — local volunteers — poured into the building. They set about gaily packing boxes that deliver monthly supplies to the mothers that Efrat helps.

Volunteers pack monthly boxes of baby supplies at the Efrat warehouse in Jerusalem, Israel, November 20, 2023 (Joel Pollak / Breitbart News)

Since the war began October 7, Salmon notes, Efrat has also helped about 100 mothers who have been displaced from the border regions, and it has begun delivering toys to the children from those communities, bringing some new light to their lives.

Efrat is a unique pro-life organization because it avoids politics; it does not even describe itself as “anti-abortion.” It focuses on making sure that pregnant mothers — single or married — in difficult circumstances know that they have a real alternative.

It is a model that the pro-life movement in the United States has started to notice.

Though the overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022 was a major victory, in that it removed the federal “right” to abortion, it led to a backlash that has seen pro-abortion laws passed even in conservative states like Kansas. Voters even in pro-life states are nervous about how far state legislators might go in barring abortion — so they are moving to the opposite extreme, sometimes guaranteeing abortion up to the moment of birth.

The confusion among Republican presidential candidates when asked about abortion in recent debates reflects the disarray in the pro-life movement generally. Some believe that passing a federal ban on abortion, at least after 15 weeks, is necessary — even though the focus of the pro-life movement for decades was to return the power to the states. Others, like former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, has said that the federal government should ban late-term abortions, which are generally opposed by Americans.

But Efrat stays out of such debates. Under the philosophy established by the late Dr. Eli Schussiem, it focuses on supporting the mother — without telling her what to do and without taking positions on public policy.

“It’s a choice that someone needs to make and it shouldn’t be mine,” Salomon told Breitbart News. “But it’s a choice that should be free from duress” — including financial duress.

That is an approach that makes more women willing to turn to Efrat — and that helps save some 3,000 babies per year.

Now, Efrat is expanding to the United States. It recently opened an office in Florida, and will open a women’s shelter in Hollywood, Florida, early next year.

Salomon explains that he decided to do so after learning that Jewish Americans have the same abortion rates as other Americans, and that no Jewish organization existed to lower that rate. In fact, many Jewish organizations — in a community that is culturally liberal — seemed indifferent, at best, to the issue. Jewish mothers, he said, would be more likely to listen to a Jewish organization than a typically Christian pro-life group or pregnancy center. So Efrat began expanding its operations to the U.S.

That will bring new opportunities — not just for Efrat, which raises 50% of its funding in Israel, but also to the pro-life movement in the U.S., which can learn from what Efrat does. As the pro-life movement finds its footing in the post-Roe era, persuasion — rather than legislation — may be the best way to save the most lives and prevent a pro-abortion political backlash.

And as the father of that IDF soldier in Gaza can attest, saving one life today can mean saving many more lives in future generations.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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