Israeli politicians are a vocal, often vituperative bunch that frequently disagree with each other. Yet, when it comes to Meir Panim, they are uniformly effusive in their praise and are grateful for the assistance that the organization provides.
Alon Davidi, Mayor of Sderot
Alon Davidi, mayor of Sderot, was born in Beersheva and moved to Sderot 25 years ago. He was elected to the Sderot city council in 2008 and has served as mayor since 2013. Meir Panim’s Neighborhood Youth Centers in Sderot provide guidance and shelter to children who have grown up under rocket fire under difficult conditions.
How has Meir Panim helped the youth in Sderot?
“Meir Panim has accompanied us and helped the city of Sderot for many years. It’s not one-time help. Rather, it is a multi-year partnership that is appropriate for our master plan for Sderot in informal education. Since I was elected mayor, we have set a goal that our youth should be leading and active ––not only receiving from others but also giving back to others. We believe that the youth from Sderot can lead in our city, and I am very happy that the Meir Panim organization has partnered with us in this vision and is part of the ongoing activities of the youth clubs in the city.”
How do the people of Sderot feel about receiving help from Meir Panim?
“More teens have joined the neighborhood youth clubs in Sderot due to the assistance and partnership provided by Meir Panim. Sderot is a city that is like a garden of Eden most of the time, and it is a charming place. In difficult times, though, there can be rockets, and we know that we are not alone. Ultimately, we are on the front of the war against terror that is directed against citizens. The fact that Meir Panim marshals support for Sderot both from Israel and the Diaspora encourages and strengthens the city’s residents. The residents understand that just as people assist them, they too can, and will, help others.
Tal Ohana, Mayor of Yeruham
Tal Ohana was born and raised in Yeruham and is the fourth generation of immigrants from Morocco. She was elected mayor of Yeruham in 2018 and has worked for the city’s economic and social development, enlisting partners from Israel and around the world, making a significant impact on the community, employment, education, welfare, and health. Yeruham is in the Negev, just a short fifteen-minute drive from Dimona, where Meir Panim maintains an active branch. Meir Panim provides food to clients in Yerucham and delivers food daily to a center that employs people with special needs.
How has Meir Panim helped the people of Yeruham?
“We have had a partnership with Meir Panim for many years. We are privileged that they are helping to distribute food in Yeruham. Teens from Yerucham have taken part in the “Young Chef Training Program” in Dimona, which helps train teens in the culinary arts. The head of Meir Panim’s Dimona branch lives in Yeruham, knows the families in the city, and takes responsibility for them.
How do the people of Yeruham feel about Meir Panim?
“Residents of Yerucham are grateful for the assistance from Meir Panim. They understand that someone is there to help them and has come to their home to help. That is the beauty of the organization – they fulfill their mission without headlines.