Community

Natan Sharansky’s Letter to the Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors

November 15, 2012

New York, 15 November, 2012

‏א’ כסלו תשע”ג


Dear Members of the Board of Governors,

Immediately as the attacks escalated in the South, The Jewish Agency mobilized to ensure the safety of the immigrants in our absorption centers, remove program participants from danger zones, and provide initial assistance to the residents of Israel’s South.

Today, 93 Ethiopian immigrants arrived to Israel from Gondar.  We greeted them at the airport, provided them terror-attack preparedness training, and bused them straight to the shelters at our Ibim Absorption Center.

I am pleased to report that all nine Jewish Agency absorption centers in the Negev are following safety procedures.  These bomb shelters are well-equipped and Agency staff made the rounds today to meet with immigrants living there to make sure they are alright and have what they need.

Our attention is especially directed toward the 23,500 children, between the ages of 9 and 14, who live in the South and have endured months of disruption and terror.  Together with the Office of the Prime Minister, we hope to take these kids out of the danger zones and provide them a few days of respite in safer areas up north, time to decompress and act like normal children before they are returned to their families and resume the daily trauma of life under fire.

Towards this end, I am pleased to report that today I met with the leadership of the Jewish federations of North America, and have been in close contact with Keren Hayesod and all our partners, to make this much needed respite a reality.

The Jewish Agency for Israel’s Fund for Victims of Terror has already begun distributing emergency cash grants to citizens who were injured or whose property was damaged by rocket fire. The Jewish federations have funded these grants which put an average of $1000 dollars cash in the hands of terror victims who urgently need to purchase emergency supplies, medical care, clothing and furniture following an attack. For those victims requiring additional immediate assistance, we provide an extra $5000 dollar grant from our Fund.  The goal of this Fund is to tide residents over until relief from government institutions kicks in.

The timely and generous assistance provided by world Jewry demonstrates the solidarity felt by Jews around the world for Israel’s citizens of the South.  World Jewry will not stand idly by as Israeli citizens run for cover under a barrage of rocket fire or cope with the harsh trauma of seeing a loved one killed or injured.

Our hearts are with the citizens of southern Israel, and I will continue to update you in the coming days.


Sincerely,

 

Natan Sharansky

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