September 17, 2009 / 28 Elul 5769
In preparation for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish Agency will be lending financial assistance to terror victims, families of fallen IDF soldiers, and soldiers wounded during military operations.
Eli Carmeli: The grant will enable victims to realize small dreams such as music lessons, exercise classes, academic studies, new furniture, and more.
In preparation for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish Agency’s Fund for Victims of Terror will be lending financial aid in an amount of approximately one million shekels to 70 soldiers and citizens wounded during military operations or terror attacks, and bereaved families of terror victims. Each victim will receive, on the average, approximately NIS 15,000 to help them with their various expenses as the New Year begins.
The Jewish Agency’s Fund for Victims of Terror was reopened after the Second Lebanon War in order to assist terror victims and families who suffered casualties as a result of terror attacks. The funds are given to help victims meet their supplemental expenses, which are not covered by official government agencies. The Fund for Victims of Terror is supported by the Israel Emergency Campaigns of UJC/ The Jewish Federations of North America, Keren Hayesod and other supporters from around the world. Since its founding, the Fund has aided thousands of people, distributing approximately 35 million NIS in financial aid.
Eli Carmeli, director of the Agency’s Fund for Victims of Terror, noted that the value and importance of the financial aid extends beyond the practical needs it serves: “It is important for Jewish communities to show solidarity with the citizens of Israel, and the financial aid they give the victims symbolizes this sense of mutual responsibility.” According to Carmeli, the financial grant is intended to help the victims fulfill modest dreams and ambitions such as making a memorial for a fallen son, academic and professional studies, music lessons, sports clubs, new furniture and appliances for the holidays, and other expenses.
The funds will be distributed over the next few days among citizens who were affected by terror attacks or by Katyusha or Kassam rocket attacks, and soldiers who were wounded during military operations. Aid will also be given to parents and widows whose loved ones were killed in military operations or acts of terror. Many recipients are soldiers and citizens affected by the Second Lebanon War and Operation Cast Lead. The recipients include Druze, Bedouin, and Armenian victims.
The Jewish Agency’s Fund for Victims of Terror recently conducted a study to examine the needs of terror victims and bereaved families. It found that many victims suffer from financial distress long after the tragic incident. The majority of terror victims – 52% – noted that they have not worked since the incident, and 94 percent of victims who run private businesses reported a need for financial assistance to revive the business.
Furthermore, 36% of bereaved families reported unemployment (as opposed to just 2.6% which were unemployed before the tragedy), and 80% of those who ran an independent business need assistance to rebuild it. The study also found that 35% of bereaved families have fallen into significant debt as a result of the death of their loved one. The findings were presented at a special conference held on behalf of terror victims at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. Researchers from around the world took part in the conference, which was initiated by the Jewish Agency.