- Lior Abarbanel, the Bina Shaliach in Columbus, Ohio, was interviewed by the local TV station regarding the current situation. He is working on additional PR initiatives about the operation.
- Neta Shani, the Shaliach at Camp Judaea in North Carolina, reports that on the day that the boys’ bodies were found, he held a short ceremony for the entire staff that included showing the boys’ photographs, saying a few words about each one, lighting three candles, singing a song in Hebrew, saying Kaddish and singing Hatikvah. On the following Friday, as part of Kabbalat Shabbat, a similar ceremony was held for all of the children in camp. In addition, the Shaliach asked Israeli counselors for the older age groups to lead discussions about the operation as part of their evening activities. Discussions involved providing explanations of the current situation, presenting the background history of the operation and discussing some of the reasons why it began. The Shaliach is working to expose all the children in camp to the topic and to create discourse and understanding about what is happening.
Claudio Menker, representative of the Jewish Agency in South America, reports on the following activities that have been conducted thus far in his region: The focus is on educational and explanatory work with the students. He notes that, unfortunately, they are encountering a certain degree of indifference among the youngsters, and few are interested in events in Israel. It is important to note that the educational activities began about a month ago, when the three teenagers were kidnapped in Gush Etzion.
In addition, the following activities took place:
- Posting on organizational (Jewish Agency, Masa) and Movement social media platforms, sharing explanatory materials provided by the IDF, presenting the other side, etc.
- Creating a curriculum of activities about the Operation and using it in various youth and student frameworks
- Hosting events showing support for Israel, in which both parents and students participated
- Exploring how to work within the schools, using a curriculum of activities specifically prepared for the current situation
- Distributing explanatory materials among community leaders.
- Information sessions for olim, parents of olim, and individuals who are enrolled to participate in programs in Israel.
Keren Hayesod is planning to start a special fundraising campaign today. Alongside statements by the Ambassador, Claudio will be presenting Jewish Agency emergency activities in Israel.
Yonatan Lipsky, of the Regional-Movement Discourse in Argentina, initiated a campaign: #ForPeaceIWould, in which members of the community are asked to photograph themselves expressing personal support for the situation in Israel ─ nothing political or belligerent, just personal statements expressing support for peace and standing with Israel in these complicated days. Attached are pictures inviting the public to take part in the campaign.
A training course is currently underway for 190 Shlichim of the Jewish Agency who will be leaving Israel this coming August, headed for destinations all over the world. During the course, the Shlichim were supposed to visit Jewish Agency programs and initiatives in the south of the country. However, due to the security situation, the original plan has been changed. Yesterday, July 14th, about 60 Shlichim went on an educational tour of the south, and worked as volunteers in Ofakim and Beer Sheva.
During these courses, the Shlichim participated in various activities:
In Beer Sheva, the Shlichim volunteered at the Hashalom nursing home. During their visit, the Shlichim spent time with nursing home residents: They played music, baked cakes and generally entertained the residents. Due to their situation the residents are unable to leave the nursing home building, and they were happy for this breath of fresh air. The staff, for whom the situation is also quite difficult, were very pleased with the young and dynamic presence of the Shlichim.
In Ofakim, the Shlichim conducted activities in the shelters with teams of students and volunteers from the Hosen Center, which works with populations from all of the cities in the area. As part of the activities, the group broke up into a number of teams: One team visited the schools and spent time with children in shelters. Another team was given a list of people, mainly elderly individuals living alone. The team visited each of these individuals’ homes to see how they are managing, find out if there is anything they need and try to help them in this difficult time. Needless to say, the group had an amazing, warm and sympathetic response to this initiative. The volunteering Shlichim also had very positive responses, and the overall feeling was that the best thing that one can possibly do, at this time, is to touch the lives of residents of the South.