Two weeks ago I mentioned that I was going to visit Camp Laurelwood this week and report back to you what I had seen and experienced. Unfortunatelythe events taking place on the world stage precluded me from visiting. JFNA,
our national umbrella organization, sponsored a conference call update onthe situation in Israel and the same time I had scheduled my visit.
As the rockets out of Gaza go deeper into Israel, we can all be thankful for the successes of the Iron Dome. The history of the Iron Dome can be traced back to President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative. Back in the 1980's
and 1990's the pro-Israel community successfully lobbied for funding anti-ballistic missile research in Israel (the only non-US based funding approved by Congress). Still there have always been hiccups in the US
relations with Israel. Back when I was running the Roundtable PAC we had arranged a meeting with the late Senator (R) Malcolm Wallop of Wyoming, a senior member of the Armed Services Committee to thank him for his support
of the strategic relationship between Israel and the United States. Ahead of the meeting we were told that the Bush  Pentagon was holding up releasing some of the funds to Israel to continue the research and would we
ask the Senator to make a call. We asked Senator Wallop to make the call, he did and the money was released.
As long as the sirens continue to go off, more Israelis are 'living' in their safe rooms, their bomb shelters. One question you may ask is, what do the children do when they are cooped up all day in a small space. Several
years ago I met a group of teens in Netivot (not far from Gaza) who during an earlier period of rocket attacks were the 'counselors' in the shelters.Through our overseas partners (JDC and JAFI), these teens were trained and
given materials, games and such, to keep the children busy having 'fun'. I am certain that there is a new group of teens doing just that today in many parts of Israel, not just the South. In recent months, over 1,000 new
immigrants to Israel have arrived from France. One can only imagine how this group must be feeling. They are in a new country, learning a new language and all of a sudden they have to learn how to react when the sirens go off.
Again, our partners are right there helping them through this trying time.
Closer to home, last night when I got home, Caroline was upset about how it appears that Israel is over reacting: 90 Palestinians dead, no Israelis. I responded that Israel has the Iron Dome and that is the major reason for the
disparity. It didn't make her feel any better. Then I told her about the three rockets that targeted the nuclear reactor in Dimona (Iron Dome knocked one of them out of the air). All of a sudden her response to the situation shifted. Those who are firing the rockets are trying to do more than just terrorize the Israeli people. For a moment, just imagine what would happen if there were a direct hit on the nuclear reactor. The situation just keeps getting more scary.
To support the "Stop The Sirens" Campaign click here:https://newhaven.secure-fedweb.jewishfederations.org/stopthesirens
(as with all special campaigns, 100% of yourdonation will go directly to Israel)
The Annual Campaign closes in three weeks and hopefully the situation in Israel will quiet down in that same time period. After that I will be leaving New Haven. Over the past two years I have made many new and good
friends, and together we have accomplished many good things. Though I maynot be here physically, spiritually this community will always be a part of me. The one thing I ask of you today though is: Let's finish the 2014
Campaign with strength (you can help us by making a few more calls)and raisesome money to help our brothers and sisters in Israel today!