Preparing for Emergencies, Even When We Don’t Want To

I am deeply troubled by what is happening in Israel. I have family and friends there and think about them often. I am incensed that much of the violence appears to be flamed by innuendos and lies about what some are saying are Israel’s intentions to change the “status quo” of the Temple Mount. International media has fallen prey to the idea “if you say something enough times people will begin to believe it is true.”

Fate does not differentiate between people. The present form of terrorism is random-- people at bus stops, in bus terminals, walking along the street, children on their bicycle, someone waiting in line at a checkpoint and an IDF soldier helping an elderly woman. 

The victims of such terrorism become united in unfortunate and macabre ways. They are also united in efforts to provide comfort and relief to those who are victims of terrorism. Our Jewish Federation is part of an international system that enables the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Fund for the Victims of Terror. What a shame that we live in a world where we have to plan for such situations. But we should all be grateful that our system understands emergencies, understands the needs, and understands our collective responsibility to be of assistance.

These are trying times in Israel. It is, to a certain extent, an emergency situation. The nature of the attacks has set many on edge. Israelis are using social media to inform others which stores just received a supply of pepper spray, a necessary commodity in such times. But the tenseness of the situation bares no comparison to those suffering from greater loss; several Israelis have been killed, dozens have been wounded.  They must pick up the pieces emotionally and financially.

The Jewish Agency’s Fund for the Victims of Terror offers vital assistance to victims of terrorist activity. It offers immediate, emergency financial grants, and long term grants helping victims overcome trauma and establish skills for success. It complements the funds and assistance provided by the Israeli government.

We are all aware of the stabbing incident involving a 13-year old in Pisgat Ze’ev who was riding his bike when attacked by a young assailant. The boy was leaving a candy store. The incident received greater coverage when Palestinian President Abbas inflamed the situation by falsely reporting the young terrorist had been murdered by Israelis and skillfully omitting any reference to the assailant’s stabbing the 13-year old as well as a 24-year old man all the while the terrorist was at an Israeli hospital receiving treatment.

The stabbed Israeli boy was gravely injured and rushed to a hospital. Within 2 days special counselors from the Jewish Agency met with the parents. The father was at the hospital with their injured son and the mother was at home caring for her other children. Routine tasks like preparing lunch, sending her kids to school and helping with homework suddenly were even more important for her other children.

Unaccustomed to receiving help, the mother accepted the assistance from the terror victims’ fund. The funds will transition her family until certain government funds begin. When asked what else she needs, she noted two things.  The first was for the terror victims’ fund’s staff not have any more work to carry out, that the terror would stop and that there would be no more suffering for mothers and children. Her second was for her son’s recovery and that he would celebrate his bar mitzvah, which is set to take place in two months.

The Jewish Agency’s Fund for the Victims of Terror is funded by our Federation’s Annual Campaign for Jewish Needs. Because of your past support, the Jewish Agency has the funds to distribute today. Your support of our current Annual Campaign is an assurance the Jewish Agency will be ready for tomorrow. 

Please join us in the 60 Day Challenge and make a pledge by December 1, 2015. All increases and new pledges will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, by generous donors.

We don’t want to be ready for such emergencies, but with your help, we will be ready.



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