March 16, 2008
The United Jewish Communities has committed $14 million to the besieged residents of Ashkelon and the western Negev.
Palestinian terrorists from the Gaza Strip have fired longer-range rockets recently into the area.
The UJC funds will support Passover respites for the town's youth, renovating bomb shelters in area absorption centers, securing senior-care facilities and programs to help deal with trauma.
The programs will be implemented by the Jewish Agency, the American-Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Ethiopian National Project and the Israel Trauma Coalition.
In addition, scholarships will be awarded to students at the Sapir College in Sha'ar Hanegev.
This funding is in addition to the $17 million already transferred by the Israel Emergency Campaign to programs in the rocket-ravaged town of Sderot and the Gaza area.
"The missile range has been extended and now reaches Ashkelon," said Nachman Shai, the senior vice president and director-general of UJC Israel. "It is therefore our duty to extend our support to the residents there. UJC and the federations of North America will continue to stand by the people of the South and to extend our help, particularly to the vulnerable populations."