Today is February 23, 2018 -
The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) represents 153 Jewish Federations, including our own, and distributes $3 billion annually for social welfare, social services and educational needs, locally, in Israel, and around the world.
I received the following letter this morning from Michael Siegal, president of JFNA:
As I write to you, Israel is waking up after a night of rocket fire rained down on Southern Israel from Gaza. Israeli citizens in Ashkelon, Ashdod, Be’er Sheva and elsewhere spent part of the night in bomb shelters. Sirens blasted throughout the region. Where safe space isn’t already available, summer camp is cancelled and daily life is again uprooted.
Israel is amassing troops along the Gaza border and the Israeli Air Force has flown numerous missions targeting Hamas operatives responsible for many of the rocket attacks.
Representatives of JFNA’s Israel office have already convened our emergency roundtable and met with our partner agencies, the Jewish Agency for Israel and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, as well as the Israel Trauma Coalition. Together we are monitoring the situation on the ground. Our communal system is ready to mobilize if our assistance is needed. We will keep you up to date as the situation evolves.
Closer to home, 120 of our community members have visited our partner community, Eshkol, over the past year and formed close relationships with her residents. The Eshkol Region is directly next to the Gaza Strip and has been in the direct line of fire from militants’ missiles. One missile exploded 50 yards from the home of our friend, Yardena, who wrote:
Although we know that we have personal and community resilience, in times of rockets falling on you, it’s hard to imagine the traumatic experience when a bomb falls in front of your House, and all the Windows explode. It’s like a physical earthquake in your body. And it happened in a place called home, that supposedly protects you. Naturally, you are recover immediately, and pick up a phone to find out about your three children who live in different Moshvim, knowing that they with your grandchildren are spending the nights in a bunker. Here we are in the third millennium, and evil spirits are around us with the extremists from both sides.
For a moment something in my solid optimism cracked … I would like to believe there is still hope.
Our friend, Chayim Yalin, Mayor of the Eshkol Regional Council issued the following statement:
In the past few days we have identified a significant increase of referrals to the Resilience Center for assistance, more then we have experienced in operations Cast Lead (2008) and Pillar of Defense (2012). The Rockets are continuing to explode around the homes of the Israeli residents near Gaza and the legal term of the current situation is “routine”. Is this an acceptable “routine” in which 20 rockets explode on a daily basis? Will our state accept this situation and raise its children in such an environment?
Thankfully/sadly, our community partly funded significant upgrades to the Resilience Center referenced by Chayim, and in December we participated in its opening ribbon-cutting ceremony.
We have let Chayim and Yardena know that our community stands with our friends in the Eshkol Region, and we have let JFNA know that we will stand with them if we need to mobilize.
I will send out updates as I receive them.