The following update on the situation at the Gaza border comes to us from our partners at The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI). To learn more about their work in Israel and the diaspora, visit www.jewishagency.org.
The Jewish Agency for Israel supports residents enduring months of rockets, mortars and firebombs.
By Alan Hoffmann, CEO & Director General, The Jewish Agency for Israel
For several months, residents of Israel's south have suffered relentless rocket attacks, mortar fire and arson kites making what we would think of as normal life impossible.
Times like these bring into sharp relief the work The Jewish Agency does each and every day in southern Israel generally and the Gaza perimeter in particular.
- Around 100 children from the Gaza perimeter will attend two weeks of our Fund for Victims of Terror summer camp in August.
- Through Partnership2Gether the Jewish Federation of San Diego County raised funds to support their partner region, Sha’ar Hanegev.
- Youth Futures mentors are identifying at-risk children showing signs of trauma and referring them to the services they need – or just giving a hug and a kind word.
- The staff of our Absorption Centers are on hand 24/7 for security and emotional support, and are running summer camps for new immigrant children.
- Amigour staff are also there around the clock to help elderly residents get to safe shelter as quickly as possible when air raid sirens go off.
These Jewish Agency programs and more ensure that communities near Gaza remain resilient.
Visiting Loan Fund Recipients
Last week I visited Shir Lengy and Idan Kadosh, residents of Sderot. They opened the Pasta v'Zehu restaurant with a Jewish Agency Loan Fund. The area has growth potential, they told me, but now fewer people go out.
They are considering starting food delivery to bomb shelters, but it hasn’t occurred to them to leave. “We’re dealing with the difficulties,” they declared proudly, "and hoping to grow the business by offering catering services."
Hearing From Children Near Gaza
Later, I met children from our absorption center in Ibim. I heard about their nightmares, needing to think twice before playing outside — matters no child should ever have to consider.
But I also heard about courage at levels we would expect from top soldiers. I would like to wish kol hakavod (good job) to the staff at our absorption centers in the South for providing safe, educational and responsive routines for these children.
I’m proud that The Jewish Agency has a comprehensive presence in southern Israel so that we can respond swiftly to provide support. Last week, we held our management meetings near Gaza as an act of solidarity. We will continue to provide assistance, so that residents of Israel's south have quality resources even in times of crisis.
May we soon enjoy days of peace.