UPDATED THURSDAY 10 JULY 2014, 16:00 JERUSALEM TIME
Aliyah & Absorption
As noted in previous updates, we have over 2,500 new olim in the Southern region (Ibim, Be'er Sheva, etc), and all are being provided with the necessary therapy and guidance. All facilities are secure, with up to date emergency equipment.
Ravit Eliya Leib, MSW, is the Director of Social Services for The Jewish Agency Absorption Centers in southern Israel. She has two children, whose summer program has been cancelled due to the current situation, but Leib recruited a family member to care for them, so that she could continue to care for the new immigrants. “It’s so important to create a routine, to normalize this abnormal situation,” she says. “The staff is used to emergency situations, but the olim have to learn to get used to it.”
Leib recounts her work with a 42-year-old olah from Ethiopia, “T,” who arrived two years ago with her 6 children in such dire physical condition that she was brought from the airport to a hospital by ambulance. Extremely disabled, she had been unable, in Ethiopia, to get the medical care she needed. In previous periods of rocket attacks, when air-raid sirens went off, it was so difficult for her to get to a bomb shelter that her family members took turns staying with her in her home. In Israel, T has received intensive rehabilitative services, and recently got up from her wheelchair for the first time. “Last night, when the sirens went off,” Leib says, “T came down to the shelter on her own two feet. It was an incredible moment for all the olim, seeing her arrive there on her own.”
Israel Experiences: "They came for an Israel Experience, but they are getting an *Israeli* Experience…"
We currently have over 4,500 young adults in Israel on short term experiences, and an additional 3,000 on long term programs. Communications have already gone out to parents of Onward, Masa, and other program participants, and the Facebook feeds of the programs are being regularly updated, as well.
Masa's 24-hour hotline for parents: (5am-10am ET: 1-866-864-3279 // 10am-11pm ET 1-855-462-6272) has received only about 2 dozen calls in the last 48 hours, and many of those were to thank us for regular communications. Participants and parents, for the most part, are in good spirits.
Municipalities and Misc.
According to plan, there will be 2,046 overseas participants/visitors in the Southern region participating in P2G programs. All Partnership2Gether groups participants have been briefed and are in close touch with our security detail, and none are within 40 km of Gaza.
As previously updated, last week a missile landed directly on an Amigour house in Sderot. The family was in the protected area, and that saved their lives. Amigour placed the family in a hotel in Ashkelon, and tomorrow the family is due to return to its home which has been renovated.
In the south of Israel there are some 2,200 senior citizens living at Amigour sheltered housing facilities. We visit them on a daily basis and ensure that their daily routine is not disturbed, and that even in these tense times they live there in comfort and security. All of their facilities are secure and their equipment, up to date.
The Fund for the Victims of Terror has disbursed 10 grants of $1,300 each in the past several days.
Wednesday 9 July, 2014, 17:00 Jerusalem
Aliyah & Absorption
- We have over 2,500 new olim in the Southern region (Ibim, Be'er Sheva, etc), and all, as reported yesterday, are being provided with the necessary therapy and guidance. All facilities are secure, with up to date emergency equipment.
- Our security detail toured all facilities within 40 km of Gaza yesterday, and will continue these visits throughout the country today.
- We currently have over 4500 young adults in Israel on short term experiences, and an additional 3,000 on long term
- All operators and participants have been briefed by security, and none are within 40 km of Gaza (an Onward group from Be'er Sheva was moved northward)
- Programs between 40-80 km of Gaza are appropriately briefed, and required to be within proximity of safe shelter
- Our security detail is in close touch with all programs
- Communications have already gone out to parents of Onward participants (750 currently in Israel), other programs either have already sent or will be sending communications shortly
- Masa has set up a 24 hour hotline for parents:
Israel Office: firstname.lastname@example.org
New York Office: email@example.com
Hotline: 5am-10am ET: 1-866-864-3279 // 10am-11pm ET 1-855-462-6272
- All Partnership2Gether groups participants have been briefed and are in close touch with by security, and none are within 40 km of Gaza (an Eshkol group has been moved to Sde Boker)
- Senior staff and security detail will be surveying our municipal programs today and providing a report tomorrow.
- Our subsidiary, Amigour, performs damage assessment for the Property Tax authority throughout the country, in cases of rocket fire damage
- Over the past several years, Amigour was contracted by the State of Israel to build and fortify 5,000 life- saving safe rooms in Sderot
- As reported yesterday, we are providing maximum security and emotional support for our elderly residents in Amigour facilities, and all secure spaces / emergency equipment are operational.
Tuesday 8 July, 2014, 17:00 Jerusalem
In the past week, as tension escalates in Israel, The Jewish Agency has mobilized and given emergency grants to the families of the tragically murdered Israeli teens, laid to rest this past week.
In an effort coordinated with the national insurance authority and local municipalities, the SOS fund responded to three urgent needs of families from Sderot, whose houses were directly hit. The families were evacuated from their homes to hotels, and each has been granted $1,000, and we anticipate more similar requests in the upcoming days as rocket fire increases drastically. Jewish Agency staff and volunteer workers are in close contact with the municipalities, regional councils, social security and the Israel Defense Forces, monitoring the rocket-fire and on call when needed.
Our long-term rehabilitation fund grants for terror victims continue to function as they have previously. The current situation hasn't affected our grant process, though we do anticipate an uptick in applications from families of both Arab and Jewish victims. The long-term grant is up to $ 6,500 per individual.
In the event that it becomes necessary, we are prepared to run respite camps for children living under constant rocket-fire. There are some 15,000 children between the ages 6-16 living in the range of 0-7KM from the Gaza Strip and 250,000 in 0-40KM range.
As the situation intensifies, we are preparing for increased demand among the 300 children already recognized as victims of terror. These children and their families will and do suffer from harsher PTSD symptoms, and their need for respite will inevitably grow. We currently only have sufficient funds to serve about 25% of the kids.
We may also, if necessary, need to facilitate mass evacuations of children out of the danger zone. The scope of our programming will largely depend on the missiles’ range, as well as government prioritization.
Together with Amigour, we are providing maximum security and emotional support for our elderly residents.
As The Jewish Agency continues to bring new immigrants to Israel, we also take responsibility for the psychological health of new olim throughout our absorption centers. Coming to Israel during such tense times is not easy, and we are committed to making sure that the beginning of their lives as Israelis is as smooth as possible under these circumstances, providing the necessary therapy and guidance, and making sure all facilities are secure.
As always, we work closely with government and local municipalities, coordinating our efforts with the national emergency authority and our partners and colleagues at JFNA, ITC, and JDC.