Observers of the Israeli society in the 1950s and 1960s have characterized its political structure as centralistic, with a very large public sector and with relatively little activity taking place outside it or without its consent. There are indications that since the early 1970s, certain structural changes have been taking place, whereby the centralistic nature of the society is giving way to a more open and tolerant atmosphere towards political, social and voluntary organizations, with a greater degree of independence from the public sector. It is argued that the development of the Self-Help Awareness is a reflection and an expression of these changes and the self-help phenomenon has to be understood within this societal context. Findings from a recent survey of self-help groups in Jerusalem show that there were over 30 such groups in a variety of fields. The data also shows that most groups were new and fragile. Implications of these findings are discussed.