Earlier this week, the Israeli Defense Forces and the Defense Ministry announced that they would be responsible for taking care of the elderly in Israel during the coronavirus crisis, and ensure they have access to essential food, medicine, hygiene products and other basic necessities. But the IDF won't be alone for its “Guards of Gold” operation: several large groups of Israeli civil society announced they would also be collaborating.
The Latet organization, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship), some of the largest foundations in Israel (Rashi, Ted Arison, Azrieli and Adelis), as well as leading companies in the business sector (Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, The Strauss Group, Osem, Tnuva and Hogla-Kimberly) will take part in this joint initiative and operation.
With the help of the Home Front Command Brigade led by Major General Tamir Yadai and Chief of Staff Michel Yanko, the IDF’s Combat Equipment and Spare Parts Center in Tzrifin will serve as a base for operations in this effort. 50 soldiers will prepare thousands of emergency aid packages that will then be distributed to elderly across the country.
"While we all face a chaotic and ever-changing reality with the challenge of supporting disadvantaged populations while resources are very scarce, we have a more urgent national mission to help seniors in need of food and hygienic products so that they stay home. This will prevent their morbidity and assist with the primary goal of containing the coronavirus," said Latet CEO Gilles Darmon and Executive Director Eran Weintrob.
"We are a team of 8 civilians, and in light of the restrictions placed on gatherings and movement we need many volunteers. We call on the Israeli public, for everyone who is able, to join in this effort," they urged.
"Israel is facing an emergency, and we are all committed to mobilizing and assisting the vulnerable populations in the country, which may collapse if we do not support them. The Fellowship is already working to raise support from millions of its supporters around the world. We have also established a $5 million emergency fund in the fight against the coronavirus to be used for helping tens of thousands of seniors and for purchasing respirators and life-saving equipment for hospitals," The Fellowship’s President Yael Eckstein said.
This program will last 90 days, or indefinitely until there is a comprehensive government response and containment of the coronavirus.
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