Since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge over two weeks ago, Earl G. Cox, the founder and chairman of Israel Always, a US-based Christian NGO, has supplied more than 1,000 soldiers with basic necessities.
“When a conflict is taking place and there’s a need for humanitarian aid, I come immediately to bring my resources for those in need,” said Cox of his organization, which has raised millions of dollars in direct and indirect aid for Israelis for the last 16 years.
He is now caring for a group of 20 Holocaust survivors who have been bombarded by rockets in their Sderot community by chartering a bus on Tuesday morning to take them to the relative quiet of Jerusalem, where he is providing hotel accommodations, meals and activities at no cost.
“There are 300 Holocaust survivors in Sderot, but most are not ambulatory, so once we identified those who could walk, we put them on a big bus today and brought them to Jerusalem, where they can relax at a hotel for three nights and four days,” he said.
Cox said his goal is to provide a much-needed respite during the tumult to the elderly survivors who have been traumatized by incessant rocket fire from Hamas terrorists on their community.
“The rockets rain down constantly there,” he said from the Jerusalem Gold Hotel, which has provided discounted rooms for the survivors.
“These people have gone through the Holocaust and now they have to go through this – it is inexcusable.”
Noting that they have been relegated to bomb shelters for much of the last two weeks, Cox said it was important to him to provide the Holocaust survivors a safe and quiet environment, if only temporarily.
“They’ve been going through so much and are so nervous – they’re skittish about everything,” he said.
“Since they arrived here many have said that they have been waiting for the [rocket] siren because it is so quiet here.”
Apart from providing rooms and meals, Cox has planned several low-intensity activities, including a trip to the Old City and other local sights.
“We’re going to play it by ear, depending on how well they feel,” he said. “Right now they’re just happy to sit in quiet in the hotel. We’re not pushing them, but I hope to take them to enjoyable locations that will make them happy.”
He added that Israel Always intends to bring another group of 20 survivors from Sderot to Jerusalem next week, but may not have the funding to accommodate a second trip.
“We’re not sure if we will have enough money to provide for the soldiers and pay for another trip, but we are hopeful,” he said.
Cox said that he saw his efforts had paid off following a brief sojourn to the Old City on Tuesday evening.
“They were crying, saying ‘You don’t know what you’ve done for us,’” he said.