This has been a harrowing and challenging month.
Since Operation Protective Edge began last Monday, more than 1000 rockets from Gaza have been indiscriminately fired at Israel and her civilians - Jews, Christians, Muslims, Druze. With the increase range of the missiles, almost 3/4s of all Israelis are now living with the constant reality of screaming "red alert" sirens and rushing for safety in shelters or safe rooms.
Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, shared his views with more than 700 people this afternoon about the matzav, the situation. While commending the extraordinary discipline of the Israeli population and their incredible resilience and high spirits in the face of relentless missiles, he made the persuasive argument that (God forbid) were America attacked by a neighbor, it would be the equivalent of 200 million Americans would be seeking security in bomb shelters.
Were it not for the Iron Dome, technologically developed by Israel but supported by President Obama, voted on by our Congress and funded with our dollars, there have been no deaths. The Iron Dome only engages rockets which might land in populated areas and it has proven to be 85% successful in destroying incoming missiles.
In response to this crisis, our Federation, along with the continental system, and the Reform and Conservative movements, has launched the Israel Terror Relief Fund to address the immediate needs of Israelis.
Working with our partners on the ground, the Jewish Agency for Israel, the JDC, and the Israel Trauma Center, we are:
- providing immediate respite and psychological care for children and families living under constant rocket fire and moving them to safer areas in the country.
At the moment, our Partnership community in the Gilboa is hosting 900 people from the South and they are expecting another 1000 to arrive in the region in the next few days for a stay in the moshavim and kibbutzim in the region. This is the community that our teen emissaries come from; the area we visit when we take trips to Israel. They are our representatives and we should be proud that they have opened their homes, their schools, their summer camps, their JCC, their cultural activities to those who need rest and respite. Our dollars make this happen.
- Our dollars have provided almost every resident in Sderot with safe rooms to protect them
- Our dollars are purchasing special emergency provisions for those in need
- Our dollars are ensuring that seniors and those with disabilities are receiving food, medicine and the care they need
- And our dollars are helping children and families and seniors address trauma issues with short term and long term counseling.
They need our help and they need it immediately. Please click here to make an online donation.
You can also make a donation by calling me at (203) 387-2424 #302 or by sending a donation by mail to our offices.
100% of all collected donations will be distributed to directly and speedily to our national office.
As I write this, there is news that the Egyptians are trying to broker a cease-fire. On Sunday talk shows, Prime Minister Netanyahu stated that the goal for Operation Protective Edge was to achieve a sustained period of quiet from Gaza terrorists, to degrade their weapon capability, and to achieve a period of calm. "Quiet will be met with quiet", he offered.
So what can we do: we can stay informed, advocate for Israel, donate dollars towards the 10 million which the Jewish Federations of North America has pledged, and we can pray that calm will be restored soon.