Foreign Donors Boost Aid to Southern Israeli Communities, IDF
Non-Israeli aid organizations, primarily led by Jews from North America and Christians around the world have launched major fund-raising campaigns for Israelis affected by rocket fire from Gaza and Israel’s current Operation Protective Edge.
The Jewish Federations of North America has fundraised in communities primarily for the Jewish Agency and the Joint Distribution Committee under the ageis of a campaign called “Stop the sirens.”
“We help the Israelis with assistance and services they urgently need,” Federation officials said. “Six million Israelis living within Hamas rocket range need our help.”
The campaign also raised awareness about the need for funds via ads on television and the Internet, among Christians in North America and worldwide.
The donations are used primarily to assist residents in southern locales, including financing recreation activities, and providing specialized assistance and equipment for the handicapped and disabled, the elderly, children and populations supported by social services.
In some cases the contributions were used to fortify towns and purchase safety and medical equipment for communities near Gaza – items that normally should be within the government’s responsibility, but are largely entrusted to NGOs and philanthropic foundations.
Since the beginning of the operation, the Jewish Agency and various federations have raised about 27 million shekels ($8 million), according to The Marker.
Over 13.4 million shekels have gone towards relief activities for children and youth living in the South, and 10.1 million had gone towards renovating shelters.
Some of the largest contributions came from the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, that primarily fund raises among Evangelical Christians in the U.S. and elsewhere.
The group has now raised 15.4 million shekels ($4.5 million) for southern Israel’s residents affected by Protective Edge, and approximately NIS 1.1 million (about 330 thousand dollars) earmarked for troops.
Last week, the fund reinforced the Sdot Negev Regional Council headquarters, acquired a mobile CT scanner for Soroka Hospital in Beersheba, and distributed first aid kits to communities near Gaza.
Each year the Foundation contributes some $5 million to IDF soldiers through the Friends of the IDF, and has increased its annual contribution due to the current operation.
According to data provided by the Fund, since the Second Lebanon War, 37 million dollars (126.5 million shekels) has been raised for various projects, including renovating bomb shelters, purchasing equipment and protective gear for hospitals and purchasing fire-fighting equipment, including trucks.