Members of the Civil Defence rescue children after what activists said was an air strike by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in al-Shaar neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria June 2, 2014.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israeli youngsters announced the launch on Sunday of Operation Human Warmth, to collect winter supplies to help save the lives of Syrian children and women refugees.
The operation was launched by the Noar Ha’oved Vehalomed (Working and Studying Youth) Movement, and the Dror Israel Movement, in collaboration with the Combat Genocide Association.
The aim of the campaign, set to run until January 12, is to collect winter coats, gloves, shoes, blankets and sleeping bags to help Syrians in need due to the ongoing humanitarian crisis and the cold winter weather.
The conflict in Syria began nearly six years ago; the United Nations estimates that more than 250,000 people have been killed and nearly 12 million Syrians displaced, with 75% of the remaining population living in poverty.
“We cannot remain indifferent to the horrors of the battles in Aleppo that are published every day,” explained Tal Rotem, the operation’s coordinator from the Combat Genocide Association.
“Our history as a nation and the fact that we are a democratic society obliges us morally to act for victims everywhere, to be the voices of the voiceless. We must not stand by when it is in our ability to help those in need,” she said.
Sixteen collection centers are set to open across the country Monday where the general public can drop off supplies that will be sorted by Jewish, Arab and Druse volunteers from the youth movements.
Centers will open in Karmiel, Julis, Nazareth, El-Bina, Haifa, Kiryat Tivon, Zichron Ya’acov, Hod Hasharon, Givatayim, Tel Aviv, Rehovot, Rishon Lezion, Jerusalem, Beersheba, Rosh Ha’ayin and the Beduin town Kuseifa in the South.
However, the organizations called on the public not to bring any supplies with Israeli logos or Hebrew writing and said that they would have to go item by item to remove the Israeli labels.
The operation is a continuation of the first Operation Human Warmth in January 2014 during which 30 tons of supplies were collected and transferred to Syrian refugees.
“Human disaster on this magnitude, taking place within a four-hour drive from Tel Aviv or an hour from Lake Kinneret [the Sea of Galilee], requires us as Israelis and human beings to act to save lives,” Rotem said.
“History teaches us that there have always been people who have chosen to work for the good of humanity. We call on the Israeli public: let’s open our hearts and together we can help save lives,” she said.
“This is the least we, the citizens of Israel, can do in the face of this human horror.”