During 11 days of conflict over 4,300 rockets were fired at Israel, the majority of them aimed at the centre of the country. Millions of Israelis spent days and nights in bomb shelters and on high alert. While life has since returned quickly to normal on the surface, trauma, fear and the after-effects of this conflict remain.
Thanks to you, UJIA quickly jumped into action during the conflict. We provided immediate support and are now providing trauma therapy for those in need. We have also committed funds to support programmes aimed at healing the tensions between Arab and Jewish communities.
Israelis are able to be resilient thanks to the support you are giving them. On your behalf, UJIA is extending a hand to those who need it most.
Immediate Care During the Conflict
Some 960 rockets were targeted at Ashkelon alone, with a number of direct hits. UJIA immediately offered our assistance to the city – a place with which UJIA and the UK Jewish community has a long history. We were able to meet the city’s needs for games kits and supplies for 25 public bomb shelters where children and families were hunkering, keeping hundreds of children occupied and busy during this scary time.
The city also needed protective equipment for their workers who went into neighbourhoods following rocket attacks to care for the residents and survey damage in case buildings became structurally unsafe. They did not have enough gear, which limited how many people could get to work. With your help we purchased 20 sets of protective equipment.
“[Several] months may have passed, but the children of Ashkelon have not forgotten the time they spent in the public bomb shelters that was made easier by the toys, games and messages of support they received from British Jewry and UJIA.” – David Wolfensohn, deputy head of Ashkelon’s welfare department
Building Resilience – Trauma Therapy in Ashkelon and Sderot
Following the ceasefire, our partner – the Israel Trauma Coalition – was flooded with thousands of requests for help, in addition to the hundreds of people already on the waiting list. We were able to ensure that waiting times were cut, with additional staff providing immediate support to those with the most acute needs. 460 new patients in Ashkelon are now receiving support, and in Sderot 234 new children and 8 new families are receiving care in their ground-breaking animal therapy centre.
Moshe lives with his wife and two sons aged 13 and 7. During the conflict their apartment suffered a direct hit by a missile. Moshe, his wife, and their oldest son, were injured when concrete and glass fell on them. The youngest son now suffers from anxiety.
The family received medical care, including surgery. Three months later, Moshe has difficulty walking and cannot drive. The family still cannot return home.
“It has been very difficult, we did not think the missiles would actually reach us, but we were very lucky: we survived, we are getting help. We meet the therapist once a week. At first we also talked on the phone when I could not fall asleep. It helps. Getting back to a normal life is hard, I am in a lot of pain, but she is helping us all”.
The Day After – Supporting Shared Society in Lod and Akko
The conflict brought to the fore the differences between many Arabs and Jews in the country’s mixed cities. The unrest was shocking to many and highlighted the need to support initiatives that build relationships between residents mixed cities. This school year we are supporting a number of programmes aimed at bringing Arab and Jewish students and young adults together in Akko and Lod for joint learning, volunteering and cultural activities. We are also supporting other informal educational activities to help residents process their feelings and (re)build trust with their neighbours.
UJIA thanks you on behalf of all the Israelis who are benefiting this year from your generosity. As we pray for continued peace and stability along Israel’s borders and its towns, we are grateful that together we are able to provide some tranquillity and comfort to the people in Israel.