February 13, 2008 / 7 Adar I 5768
Last Motsei-Shabbat was one of the most difficult and painful nights for Sderot, a city whose residents have suffered for the past eight years. Rami Twito, age 19, and his younger brother Osher, age 8, were injured by Kassam missiles, which have not stopped raining down on Sderot for a single day in recent history.
It should have been a day of joy for the Twito family, as the family was celebrating their father, Rafi's, 45th birthday. Rami and Osher were on their way to buy a present for the occasion when the Kassam rocket hit. Since then, their lives have been turned upside down. Rami was moderately injured and is currently hospitalized at "Shiba" hospital in Tel-Ha'Shomer. At the very same hospital, in the children's intensive care unit, Osher is still under the effects of anesthesia after having gone through a difficult surgery to amputate his left leg. The doctors worked valiantly through the night to save his right leg, though even now the threat of amputation has not passed.
Their parents, Iris and Rafi, their sisters and brothers, extended family, and neighbors are all heart-broken and pray for Rami and Osher's speedy recovery.
The Jewish Agency, in partnership with the UJC in North-America, Keren HaYesod and leading Israeli philanthropists, has been steadfast in its support for the people of Sderot and the areas surrounding Gaza.
Prior to the Kassam attack, Osher Twito was an active participant in the "Youth Future" program under the auspices of the Israel Department of the Jewish Agency. As soon as we heard of Osher's injury, the "Youth Future" Division of the Israel Department offered financial support to the Twito family, as well as moral support to Osher's peers who participate in the "Youth Future" program in Sderot.
A primary grant from the "S.O.S Fund for Sderot Victims of Kassam Attacks" of the Jewish Agency was given to the Twito family to meet their needs at this difficult time. We are in constant touch with the family and will continue to be of assistance and ease their pain in any way possible.
Due to the escalation of rocket attacks in the area, one hundred and fifty Sderot families have applied to the Fund for special assistance.
At the same time, the Jewish Agency is continuing to run programs for over 6,000 children and youth from Sderot and the areas surrounding Gaza, taking them on fun and educational trips around the country, giving them a brief respite from the missile barrage, and providing them with much-needed psychological services.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our partners in the Jewish world and in Israel for their support and commitment to the State of Israel, in general, and for their concern for the well-being of the people of Sderot and the areas surrounding Gaza, in particular.
A special thanks to the employees of the Jewish Agency, particularly those in the Israel Department, who dedicate day and night to aiding the people of this region.