The World Jewish Congress, in partnership with the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional
Council, organized two trips to the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem for children of
southern Israel on Wednesday and Thursday.
WJC, an organization which
represents Jewish communities within governments, parliaments and international
organizations around the world, said it “saw fit to grant kids from the South a
few hours of respite and fun activities in Jerusalem.”
The trip, which
took place twice over the past week, included 600 children, most of whom are
pupils in elementary schools.
While visiting the Biblical Zoo, the
children also received a surprise visit from Subliminal, a popular Israeli
rapper and record producer who signed autographs and took pictures with the
“The kids were super excited about him showing up, they jumped
on him,” Julie Talesnik, who participated in organizing the event, told The
. “It was such a change from their routine over the past week, and
even over the past years.”
Talesnik, a senior coordinator in the Israeli
branch of WJC, explained that the organization sponsored buses, lunches and
other elements of the trip on pretty short notice.
“We weren’t sure what
was going to go on, or how long it would take for the situation to calm down,”
she said, “but what we did know, was that these kids were under tremendous
anxiety and needed a break.”
Kadima MK Shai Hermesh, chairman of
WJC-Israel and a resident of Kibbutz Kfar Aza near the Gaza Strip, said in a
statement: “These children are the silent victims of the conflict.
live under daily repressed tension and stress. It is our duty as parents to help
them release this stress any way possible, including days outside the range of
He added: “On behalf of the members of the World Jewish Congress
around the world, I am proud to take part in this important initiative and
express the solidarity of the world Jewry with the children of Israel – all Jews
are responsible for one another.”
Over the past week, during Operation
Pillar of Defense, many initiatives across the country were undertaken to
provide children of communities and towns in the vicinity of the Gaza Strip with
trips and activities away from the rockets.
Amongst the initiatives, the
children of ORT Ashdod Naval Youth Village had been evacuated to the Jewish
Agency’s Neurim Youth village during the operation in order to rest and recover
from the security situation.
The student union of the Interdisciplinary
Center in Herzliya also hosted 350 children from southern towns on Monday for a
day of performances, puppet shows, arts and crafts and other activities at
community center close to the campus. Some 70 students with a background in
education volunteered to conduct the event.