The Jewish Agency Launched Major Initiative to Take Youth out of Area of Rocket Attack

January 13, 2009 / 17 Tevet 5769

The Jewish Agency for Israel has launched a major initiative to offer respite to more than 23,500 youth from the greater Sderot area with day and overnight activities out of the area under rocket attack.

The program, which had previously helped children and teens in the greater Sderot area during earlier periods of rocket fire, has now been significantly expanded with trips which can accommodate thousands of youth from the area daily, following a decision last week by the United Jewish Communities - Federations of North America to allocate $5.5 million in emergency funding for the project.

Since Thursday, thousands of children and teens ages 10-17 have gone on day trips and thousands are traveling out of the area today (Tuesday) and tomorrow:

  • On Thursday (Jan. 8) 1,870 youth went to the Sea of Galilee
  • On Sunday (Jan. 11) 3,700 youth spent the day in Jerusalem.
  • On Monday (Jan. 12) another 4,500 visit Jerusalem.
  • Today (Tues., Jan. 13) 3,000 will attend a huge happening at Park Yeruham.

(The cost per child for a day respite is $53.)

Additionally, several hundred youth are on retreats at the Jewish Agency facility in Nitzana as well as in Eilat.

In addition to the respite programs, the Jewish Agency's fund for Victims of Terror has been extremely active in providing immediate financial assistance to families whose homes have been hit by rockets. In the 2 weeks since the operation in Gaza began (during which Israel was attacked with over 600 rockets) the Fund has provided about $70,000 in assistance to 77 families usually within 48 hours of the attack.

Also, over a dozen Israeli companies have also partnered with the Jewish Agency to fund or enhance Jewish Agency activities or provide additional service for people in the area under attack. One project, also funded by the UJC, is to distribute basic supplies and toys to hundreds of shelters in the South.

Special attention is also being given to the 3,200 new immigrants at the 10 Jewish Agency Absorption Centers which have now come in the area under threat of rocket fire. The Jewish Agency organized a post trauma counseling program and trained 40 members of staff from the absorption centers in the south to deal with challenges faced by new immigrants. Some of the new immigrants currently living at the absorption center in Ashdod were among the 200 new immigrants that the Jewish Agency brought to Israel from Georgia to escape the fighting with Russia this summer.

A group of youth from the Sderot area at a ceremony Monday (Jan. 12) at the Jewish Agency building in Jerusalem; they were among 4,500 youth who spent the day in the capital as part of a Jewish Agency initiative to take children and teens for daily outings outside the area under rocket fire.

Please view video of youth on respite at

Photo Credit: David Karp

For further information contact:
Michael Jankelowitz,
Liaison to the Foreign Press, Jewish Agency for Israel
Mobile: +972-52-6130220
Voice-mail: +972-2-620-2780 



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14 Jan 2009 / 18 Tevet 5769 0