Southern Distress: Real Time Response
As you surely know by now, Southern Israel has once again come under a relentless barrage of rocket fire from terrorist groups operating in Gaza. Though a tentative ceasefire was announced on Tuesday, it remains unclear if it will hold and for how long.
What is clear is that, according to the Israeli Defense Forces, more than 220 rockets targeting civilians have been launched (as of this writing) since Friday by the Popular Front for the Liberation for Palestine (PFLP) and the Islamic Jihad. Iron Dome technology notwithstanding, once again hundreds of thousands of Israelis in the southern part of the country are locked in a tense waiting game, fearing property damage and bodily harm – for which they have 15-90 seconds to prepare. As a cautionary measure, the area's schoolchildren have been home since Sunday, which means that thousands of families are literally grounded by an impending "incoming" siren.
The Jewish Agency for Israel, when and wherever Jews are in immediate danger, has been providing support to people who have suffered injury or damage to their homes. Virtually in real-time, our Fund for the Victims of Terror representatives visit the sites of the Grad missile strikes to speak with the residents, survey the damage, and offer direct and immediate financial assistance. This cash assistance is intended to provide for basic necessities that have not yet been met by local government authorities.
The Fund's staff in the South is currently meeting with families who may need help, and have thus far provided immediate financial assistance to six families in Be'er Sheva. The Fund’s representatives were at the sites within ten minutes of the missile attacks. These families, while thankfully unharmed physically, suffered massive damage to their homes and cars. Several of the residents also suffered from traumatic shock and required treatment at nearby hospitals.
Families that receive official government designation as ‘victims of terror’ will be eligible for additional, longer-term grants from the Fund. If the hostilities continue, there will also be a distinct need for children to enjoy respites, away from their towns, where they can decompress and have positive experiences, free of anxiety. As we have done in the past, the Jewish Agency has discussed plans to take children from the South to more peaceful parts of the country during the Passover holiday.
We will continue to provide reports of our activities and update our website as the situation in Southern Israel continues to unfold. We also invite you to learn more about and find out how you can help the Jewish Agency’s Fund for the Victims of Terror.
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