Funds to help rocket-battered towns pour in from Diaspora

Israelis also contributing to the South, Jewish Agency says.

kassam take cover 248 ap (photo credit: AP)
kassam take cover 248 ap
(photo credit: AP)
As leaders from dozens of Diaspora Jewish organizations and communities visited Israel this week to show their support, pledges of millions of dollars in aid to rocket-battered southern towns have been made. Most of the aid money pledged thus far has come from the American federation system, which promised the Jewish Agency and JDC some $10 million, essentially as a credit line for programs for traumatized residents. Of that, $2m. contributed by the New York Jewish federation has already been wired. Many thousands of dollars have been raised for suffering Israelis by umbrella groups such as UIA Canada and Keren Hayesod, and organizations such as the American Jewish Committee, WIZO and American friends of Magen David Adom. A WIZO leadership conference in Israel this week visited Beersheba and Ashkelon and pledged several million shekels to dozens of projects in the South. These include relaxation weekends for educators who have carried the burden of shepherding local schoolchildren through this difficult period, funds for fortifying preschools and battered women's shelters against rockets, and the construction of a new post-trauma treatment center in Sderot. The Claims Conference announced this week it was allocating $428,000 for Holocaust survivors living in the Gaza periphery area. Much of the funding will go to "supportive communities" that provide the elderly recipients with emergency buttons, security, counseling and other services. Tens of thousands of dollars will go toward psychological support, shatter-proof windows in nursing homes and hot meal programs. A portion of the financial help has focused on assistance to the immobile who cannot run for safety when the Color Red sirens warn of impending rocket falls. Half of a $50,000 American Jewish Committee grant announced earlier this week will purchase motorized carts for transporting elderly and disabled residents of the Gaza periphery to bomb shelters. Israelis are also making contributions. Thousands have volunteered in Gaza periphery programs and among the affected communities, and as hosts for families who fled northward for a few days' calm. In addition, Israelis have contributed needed items such as computers and toys to local shelters, alongside more than NIS 200,000 given in response to a Jewish Agency ad campaign asking for contributions for the South.