As Community went to press, more than 2,000 rockets have been launched in Israel since Monday, July 7, and Israel’s aerial bombardment of Hamas military targets has expanded to include a ground offensive to destroy Hamas’ extensive network of tunnels that they use not only to store military hardware and munitions, but to enter Israel surreptitiously, launching terrorist attacks from within Israel itself.
The toll of both human life and property damage is staggering.
In Israel, the death toll is nearing 30, one soldier is thought to be missing, and for the number of rockets, property damage is minimal. The economic and emotional tolls are also high.
For the Palestinians, the death toll is over 600 and property damage across Gaza is staggering. The emotional toll is also high.
Why the huge difference?
Israel invests in protection for its citizens. The Iron Dome is having tremendous success intercepting Hamas’ rockets and missiles targeted at population centers. In addition, most Israeli homes and businesses.
Hamas has invested in weapons and munitions instead of bomb shelters and deliberately uses residential areas, schools, mosques, hospitals and even UNRWA facilities and vehicles to stockpile weapons, launch rockets and mortars, and gather military personnel.
Israel goes out of its way and uses multiple methods to warn residents to leave when their neighborhoods will be attacked. Hamas encourages them to stay in place, thus ensuring a high civilian casualty rate.
As the war drags on, Israel has asked for our help with humanitarian issues.
Your Jewish Federation of Louisville, working with the Jewish Federations of North America through our Israeli partners the Jewish Agency and JDC (American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee), is providing critical support to the vulnerable in Israel through the Stop the Sirens Campaign. Already, Louisville has raised $7,000, but much more is needed.
What can we do with those dollars?
We can get more than 40,000 children out of the shelters … at least for a day.
For the more than 37,000 children who live within 25 miles of Gaza, the current situation is not a flare-up. They have spent the last 13 years under fire. And today, many more children are impacted.
It is estimated that $5,000,000 would provide a day of respite for children in the areas of heaviest bombardment – camps, classes and diversion activities.
We can help the most vulnerable.
For the elderly and the infirm, the siren warning is not long enough to make it to a shelter, so for now, some must live in them. For others, the senior centers and community centers that provide food and comfort during ordinary times are now inaccessible. Food and medicine must be delivered to them. And for new immigrants, lack of familiarity with the environment and language barriers makes living through the barrage of attacks even more traumatic.
It is estimated that $2,200,000 would assure the delivery of food and medicine, provide caseworker visits for the elderly and disabled, assistance for new immigrants and additional training for professionals working with this population.
We can offer trauma support.
What happens when you come out of your shelter and find that your home is destroyed? Where do you stay that night or find clean clothes in the morning?
For most people the damage is not just physical. It is impossible today to know the extent of the psychological impact on residents of the south who have lived through 8,000 rocket attacks over the last 13 years or those in the center of the country who today are also facing this extreme stress.
It is estimated that $4,200,000 will help the Israel Trauma Coalition work with more than 20 cities and numerous agencies and institutions provide trauma counseling and physical damage assistance.
We can provide flexible assistance for communities hardest hit by the conflict.
Local leadership performs the first level of triage for the needs of individual communities. Federations can strengthen their capacity to enhance the resilience of the population most deeply affected.
It is estimated that $1,800,000 will be needed to meet a broad range of needs identified by local leaders working with Federation representatives who have deep knowledge, expertise and relationships in the hardest-hit areas.
The total estimated immediate need is $13,200,000, and the longer the conflict drags on, the more assistance will be needed.
Here, in Louisville, even the children at the JCC’s Summer Camp did their part. During their annual Caring and Sharing Week, led by Shlicha Dafi Chen (Israel emissary), the campers collected candy and made games and puppets for care packages that have been sent to Israel.
Please do your part, too. During every time of hostility or need, in virtually every town in Israel, every day, you will find the Federation at work. Helping those who need it the most. Making sure no one falls through the cracks.
Donate online today at https://jewishlouisville.org/stopsirens; write a check to the Jewish Federation of Louisville (be sure to note Stop the Sirens in the memo line) and drop it off at the Jewish Community Center or mail it to Stop the Sirens Campaign, Jewish Federation of Louisville, 3600 Dutchmans Ln., Louisville, Kentucky 40205; or call the Federation office, 502-238-2739.