Jewish Agency Update: Escalation in the South of Israel
Since Friday morning, the cities and towns of the south of Israel and surrounding the Gaza Strip have been under continued missile attack. The escalation was triggered by Thursday’s terrorist attack along Israel’s Egyptian border. To date, there have been 9 Israelis killed, 30 wounded and countless others who have suffered from shock, from the terrorist attack and the ensuing missile barrage. As we do in national emergency situations, the Jewish Agency has mobilized to provide assistance in a variety of areas:
Fund for the Victims of Terror: This fund provides emergency assistance to every family whose home was destroyed and to people physically wounded by a direct hit. The assistance, in the sum of $1,000, is meant to provide for immediate necessities that those affected have not yet received from the local authorities. The head of the Fund and his staff are in constant contact with the various responders from Bituach Leumi (social security) and the welfare offices. To date, $9,000 of initial support to the victims has been distributed, courtesy of an anonymous donor through the Fund.
The Jewish Agency also assists with supplementary grants given after the authorities officially recognize the affected casualties as terror victims and following a detailed investigation conducted by the authority personnel handling the casualties. These grants are distributed subject to the convening of a professional committee which includes representatives of the Jewish Agency, JFNA, Keren Hayesod, Jewish communities and various government offices (defense, social security and others). The amount of the support for each family is up to 25,000 NIS. The Fund approved allocating up to $250,000 for the current crisis from its remaining budget.
Absorption Centers: In the areas affected by the missile strikes there are 8 absorption centers serving 2,400 Olim (new immigrants). The vast majority of these Olim arrived after Operation Cast Lead several years ago and therefore has not lived through this kind of crisis. Starting on Friday, the absorption centers have been operating in emergency mode which requires a 24 hour staffing of the center. In the past few months, the centers’ residents have had briefings from the Home Front Command and it appears the residents have been well briefed and are following directions. The staff is also preparing for social/psychological activities based on the needs and the daily situation assessments.
Amigour Residents and Property Tax Projects: Some 7,500 families of Amigour housing residents are in the affected areas, including: Ashdod, Ashkelon, Sderot, Netivot, Ofakim, Beer Sheva and Kiryat Gat. Of these, 2,500 elderly residents live in 1,500 sheltered apartments and require special assistance given that they are elderly, mostly immigrants and many Holocaust survivors. Also, another 800 families who were former residents of Gush Katif, are in Amigour housing in the area. On Thursday morning, a directive was issued to all the branches and all the workers of Amigour’s sheltered housing to ensure that the shelters were open and have the required necessities in place. Amigour also handles requests on behalf of the Property Tax authorities. Amigour, as the operational arm of the Property Tax Authority, does the repairs for those who apply for assistance through that official body. On Monday, August 22, a joint visit of the Chairman of the Executive and Director General of the Jewish Agency will take place in the south to meet with Agency staff and Amigour residents as well as to visit sites where the missiles have fallen in order to assess the damage and to strengthen the Jewish Agency’s activities in the area.
For more information on the Fund for Victims of Terror, please visit our website at: https://donate.jewishagency.org/page/contribute
We will continue to keep you updated on our activities in the South and will also be updating our Web site with new information as it becomes available.
Join Our Growing Community