Gone Camping: Summer on the Gaza Perimeter





The Jewish Agency, with funding from the Israel Emergency Fund of the United Jewish Communities, is taking the entire population of 8,000 children ages 6 to 17 who live in the Sderot area out of the range of attack and letting kids do what they like best. From amusement parks to nature reserves, from water parks to concerts, and from touring the country to enjoying recreation with friends, kids from Sderot are having a great summer. (More about the program's funding.)

But why not hear it from them? Come back to this blog frequently to check out blog entries from different camps thoughout the summer.

Today (July 6) we began summer camps in Sderot and the Gaza perimeter. The camps are intended for the children of Sderot and the children of the following local councils – Ashkelon Coast, Shaar Hanegev, Sedot Negev and Eshkol.

In the first stage the Jewish Agency is providing a three weeklong camp for children from grades 1-12.  Some of the camps are on wheels since every day we journey to someplace else.  Other camps are locally based, and take place in the community centers and in the kibbutzim and the campers depart the confines of the camp once or twice a week,” so writes the Jewish Agency representative from the Israel Region department.

At left we see the camp for the religious population that is named AfiKef (literally Afi-fun because the nonprofit organization that operates here is called Afikim Banegev) while the camp shown above, at the community center, is called Kiufit.

On the camps' opening day, 1,520 children participated.

“We are militarily in a stage of calm so we are experiencing quiet and fun and hope that this situation continues” writes Ofer Baram, Director of Community Relations, Israel Southern Region.

On July 7, Terry Rubenstein, Director of the Meyerhoff Foundation in Baltimore, visited Jewish Agency summer camps during her solidarity visit to the Gaza perimeter communities.

Terry Rubenstein, at center, and Yitzchak Shavit, at left, meet with the kids and staff of one of the camps.

During her family's visit to the "Afikef Camp", they chatted with the children and their counselors. Accompanying the tour was Yitzchak Shavit, UJC's Senior Vice President.

Later in the day, the delegation climbed up to an observation post for a bird’s eye view of the region and visited the home of Sima and Haim Shkuri, the last home to suffer Kassam damage before the cease-fire went into effect. The visit concluded with a visit to the Kassam missile exhibit at the Sderot police station.

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