Canadian Young Leadership Solidarity Mission to Israel 758x530.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
A young leadership solidarity mission from Toronto with fifteen participants, mostly in their twenties, came to Israel last week following the military operation in Gaza to do four days of volunteer work in Sderot, Jerusalem and northern Judea. “We didn’t come to tour,” said 26-year-old Ilana Arje-Goldenthal, “we came to be involved and make a difference.”
During their visit to Sderot, the young people heard about life on the Gaza border and played with the local children in the protected playground contributed by JNF USA. In Netzarim, a residential development in Halutza funded by friends of KKL-JNF worldwide, they met the local residents, evacuees from Gush Katif, who have established a new and flourishing community in a desolate region.
One of their more emotional meetings was with Rachel Frankel, mother of the late Naftali Frankel, one of the three boys abducted and killed near Hebron in early June. “We have been receiving a great deal of empathy over the summer from many people,” said Frankel, “and we are also very grateful to you, for leaving your homes to demonstrate your solidarity with us.” Frankel's optimism and fortitude, and her ability to cope with her grief by working to strengthen unity in Israel, made a great impression on the young Canadians.
Not far from Alon Shvut Junction, where the three boys were kidnapped, a new memorial site named Givat Oz VeGaon has been created to commemorate Gil-Ad Shaer, Eyal Yifrah and Naftali Frankel. A neglected site where trash used to accumulate is now becoming a nature and tourism site thanks to the many volunteers from Israel and other countries who have been contributing to its development.
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