Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, 29, a mother of a baby only 16 months old, and Ziv Hajbi, 35, were brutally murdered in a shooting attack at the Barkan Industrial Park Sunday morning. The two were found tied up and mortally wounded in the office where they worked. Police believe they were shot at close range after being tied up.
Efforts to revive them were unsuccessful. Kim leaves behind her husband and baby. Ziv leaves behind his wife and three children under the age of 7. May their memories be a blessing.
A third victim, a 58-year-old woman, was seriously injured with a gunshot wound in the stomach. She had heard noise coming from the office and went to check what was happening. She was shot as she entered the room. Please pray for the full recovery of Sara bat Chava.
Medics who entered the room discovered the woman hiding under one of the desks but fully conscious. They treated her wound and evacuated her to a hospital. She arrived in serious but stable condition.
Both of the victims worked at the Alon Group recycling factory in the industrial park. Kim was a receptionist for the deputy CEO and Ziv was an accountant. The area had long been considered an oasis of coexistence between Jews and Arabs. More than 8,000 people work in the area, half of them Jews and half Palestinians. It was the first terrorist attack ever to take place in the area, and serves as a major blow to the feeling of safety workers in the area enjoyed before the murders.
The terrorist is believed to be a 23-year old Palestinian from the village of Shweika near Tulkarem who worked at a factory in the park. He succeeded in sneaking an automatic weapon – a Carlo-style sub machine gun – through security, possibly because he held a work permit. He managed to escape after committing the attack. Israeli security has launched a manhunt to find him.
As the terrorist ran out, he fired at other workers, one of whom was carrying a gun and fired back. Neither managed to hit his target.
According to witnesses, the terrorist also worked at the Alon Group and may have been personally acquainted with his victims. He was an electrician at the plant but had not appeared at work during the weeks before the attack.
President Reuven Rivlin condemned the attack. “I am shocked and saddened by this morning’s terrible terrorist attack at the Barkan industrial area. Our hearts are with the families of those who were killed, and our prayers are with those who are injured,” he said.
“This was not only an attack on innocent people going about their daily lives, it was also an attack on the possibility of Israelis and Palestinians co-existing peacefully. “
OneFamily has reached out to the Yehezkel and Hajbi families. We are at their side through the difficult mourning period and will continue to be there through the stages of grieving that follow. We will stay at their side as long as they need us so that they never feel alone.
Young adults visits London for rehabilitative trip from Israel
On Tuesday, 28th November, 16 young adults, all affected by a terrorist atrocity in Israel, including one who suffered the loss of his father, sister and brother, just this past summer, came together for a very special rehabilitative week in London .
Hosted by families in the Mill Hill & Totteridge area, they will visit all the familiar sites in London with a visit to the Lyceum to see the Lion King too.
Staying with host families makes the experience even greater as they forge friends for life with their hosts . Often, these victims of terror do not know that there are people outside of Israel that care for their wellbeing and this is of great comfort to them.
Each member of the group came to London as strong individuals who have been exposed to terror, yet have chosen to stay positive and choose life despite the bereavement they suffered. This trip enabled the group to get to know each other, as many didn’t know each other well and to be strengthened by the power of being together with people who understand the difficult feelings they have had to cope with following the bereavement of their sibling. The trip literally changes their lives!
Below are images from their amazing week in London.
Wednesday brought more sights of London for our visitors from Israel :
Thursday night our group were hosted for an evening where they spoke about their personal experiences. Everyone in the room was drawn to tears at the bravery of this wonderful group of people. They spoke eloquently about the family they had lost to such awful acts of terrorism.
One of the stories told is below:
My name is Shmuel. I am married and we have a young child. We live in Hadassim youth village in Even Yehuda and are secular but grew up in a religious home.
A few months ago, my family were celebrating a new baby. My wife had given birth to a baby boy! We were all so happy to welcome him to the family and my parents made a celebration at their home in Halamish. It was warm summer’s evening and we were expecting lots of guests to pop by but the happy scene soon turned to devastation when a terrorist infiltrated their home and brutally stabbed them to death. That terrible Friday night, I lost my father Yosef Salomon, 70, my sister Chaya Salomon, 46, and my brother Elad Salomon, 36. My mother Tova, 68, was seriously wounded. We are all trying to be strong and build our lives for the sake of all the children and each other but the pain is immense.
We named our son “Ari Yosef.” We invited all of Israel to participate in our joy “so that the Salomon family will be remembered as happy and joyous and not sad and hurt.”
What our hosts said about the week:
Missing my sons already …. x
Thanks for including us in a very special and rewarding week
Thank you. A really wonderful opportunity to host such a great bunch of people. A great charity. Xx
Can’t thank you enough for asking us to be part of this incredible few days it was such a privilege. Please count us in for any others.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information on our work and like us on Facebook and follow us on twitter
One Family is the family of Israel’s victims of terror attacks – support for those who have been bereaved, those who have been maimed, those challenging difficulties daily and those suffering from post-trauma as a result of terrorist attacks since 2001.
Summer event in Israel
This summer an evening event was hosted by patrons of the charity at their beautiful home in Hertzliya to pay tribute to all the support given to victims of terror by the friends and supporters of One Family UK and to hear about the latest activities in the organisation.
Approximately eighty people gathered to listen to MK Michael Oren who shared his thoughts about also being a victim of terror (His sister in law was killed in a bus bombing in 1991) and how organisations such as One Family are so important. He also spoke about his experiences as former Israeli ambassador to the United States and the challenges he faced. He then signed copies of his recent book Ally : My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide, to give to the guests.
Bereaved sister Michal Hotter sang a song in English that she composed about her late brother who was killed in the 2nd Lebanon war and played beautiful jazz music throughout the evening. Her mother, Elaine, who is originally from the UK spoke on behalf of bereaved parents, how much One Family helps and supports the families and the guests from London had the opportunity to meet some victims of terror who kindly joined them for the event.
The summer retreat has arrived and for children who have lost a mother, father, brother or sister in a terrorist attack, fun isn’t a major part of their lives. But all of that changes when they arrive at One Family summer camp.
For six days, bereaved children allow themselves to be children again. That’s the magic that happens when they are with other children who have experienced the same type of loss.
During the year One Family’s Youth Division helps bereaved children by forging relationships between them and their volunteer counselors. The counselors make regular visits to their homes, particularly on their birthdays and the anniversary of the death of their family members. They speak on the phone weekly.
The relationship is deepened throughout the year at One Family events. The pinnacle of which is Summer Camp, where the counselors spend a week with the campers, bonding and providing emotional support.
That’s why the 300 campers and 60 counselors look forward to the start of camp all summer. When they are under the weather as the camp is due to begin, one camper said, they’ll do whatever they need to do to feel better so they can be at camp.
At One Family Camp, children who have lost siblings or parents to terror do not need to stifle their feelings, as they often do in their everyday lives. They are free to be themselves with others who are struggling with the same challenges.
Throughout the year, they feel different from others. At the One Family camp, they feel normal. As one of our campers said, “As soon as I stepped off the bus to start camp, I felt like myself again for the first time since the tragedy.”
That feeling is the gateway to healing. And it’s happening right now.
We wish you were there to see it in person. The pictures below capture some of the fun, excitement, and bonding we see each day at camp.
One Family, an organisation that supports victims of terror, asked the children to speak, release their burdens, and display the strength they found through coping with their tragic circumstances.
Written by a One Family volunteer who joined the One Family Young Adults Division on an outing to the North.
The day started with a tour of a winery and a wine tasting at Har Galil. In true Israeli style, the winery staff could not find the key to the fence to let us in, so everyone had an extra adventure climbing the fence in order to start the tour.
Next, all of us headed to Tzfat for another factory tour and tasting, this time at a cheese factory. The day was rounded out with a hike and picnic outside of Tzfat, complete with all the dairy delicacies appropriate for the Shavuot holiday, which would start the next day.
I was fortunate enough to accompany the group throughout this adventure and see the dynamics of the members, all of whom have lost close family members – a brother, sister, mother, or father – to terror.
About ten of us started at the winery but more joined as the day progressed. By the time we came to the picnic, many people were joining the group, exchanging warm hugs, and partaking in the festivities.
These arrivals show most clearly what it means to be part of this group. There is a silent support network that comes from having a large group of people who have all experienced the same trauma. If someone is reminded of a lost loved one or has a negative experience, they are free to share with one person or the whole group. No one will judge them, or laugh, or think that what they are doing is not normal.
Because everyone there has felt the same way or done the same thing. Here, everyone can be themselves without holding back. There is no need to fear judgement because everyone knows what it is like to be in the same place. That’s what makes it so comfortable.
This group is a safe space away from the world. They are comfortable crying. But more importantly, they are comfortable smiling and laughing, because life does go on.
On this trip were people from all walks of life, at all stages. Some group members were studying, some were working, but all had the chance to step away from whatever they were doing for a moment and just spend the day with friends. At first glance, this was a typical group of friends out for a day trip. People broke off into groups to chat about their lives. And one person had his phone taken away when he was paying more attention to it than to his friends.
During the picnic, one young woman pulled out a mini coffee-maker and gas lighter and used them to make chocolate fondue for the group. Added to the cheese and campfire-style fondue was the knowledge that everyone there was there for each other. Everyone had a support network and was ready help those around them.
Just as friends come together for a day trip, the Young Adult Division was able to spend some time getting away and celebrating the holiday in style. These trips help them maintain a connection to each other and to One Family. And you can see how much that connection means from the moment they say “hello.”
In honour of the festival of Shavuot, One Family members from central Israel enjoyed a special day of healing activities at the Rananna warm house.
The senses were awakened during a therapeutic healing floral workshop ran by staff member Sophie Vardi, who runs “Happiness through Flowers” workshops. The aim of the workshop, are to teach the ladies how to make hand tied bouquets with white flowers and wheat, traditionally used in floral arrangements for this festival to represent the harvest time but deeper than that, research has shown that flowers have a positive and healing effect on emotional well being. All the ladies commented how much they enjoyed the workshop and their faces were filled with light from this special morning.
The ladies also enjoyed a special challah baking experience with Karen Rosenberg Maoz, where Nicole Cohen, mother of Ophir, who was seriously wounded in Operation Protective Edge, made a blessing for his complete recovery.
All the ladies then enjoyed a special dairy lunch followed by tasty cheesecake and received a blessing from Rabbi Kobi Pessel, who gave a talk about the days between Jerusalem Day and Shavuot and how we can take strength from this time. Rabbi Pessel, has been coming to One Family events at the warm house in Rannana for over a decade and he is the source of much strength for One Family members there.
Another important aspect of the day, was the coming together of all these ladies, gaining strength from each other. To see the positivity and energy these ladies experienced today despite the terrible pain in which they carry on a daily basis, it was an honour to be able to give them such an inspiring day. Chag Sameach!
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Monday May 8th One Family UK held our Face of Hope dinner at the Lancaster London Hotel , attended by over 530 guests.
Everyone in the room heard from victims of terror in Israel who had all experienced tragic loss but have become the face of hope for us all as with the help of One Family they have rebuilt their lives.
Chen Hayoun -One day I wanted to buy a shirt. I was a senior in high school, full to the brim with wild hopes and dreams, often daydreaming about what my future would look like. I was doing just that as I strolled into the market at the Israeli city Hadera.
A moment later, my world was torn apart. A suicide bomber blew himself up, murdering five, and leaving me terribly wounded. I suffered major head and internal trauma, as well as grievous and extensive burns. For a month, I was hanging between life and death, with slim chances of survival.
But I fought. I fought for me. I fought for my family and friends. I fought for those who had lost their life that cursed day. And I survived. But I was a broken, shattered thing, and I needed help. A lot of it.
In the following months, I underwent many operations and other medical procedures, all designed to give me a chance for a relatively normal life. Most of them succeeded. Thank G-d I’m alive but with only 25% hearing and a body still full of shrapnel. Notwithstanding this I was proud to serve my country in the Israeli Defense Force’s Spokesperson’s unit.
I completed my law degree followed by a masters. I even got married. —all of this — would not have been possible without the help of One Family. They cared for me, they helped me, they funded my scholarship through law school and they deserve the lion’s share of the credit for who I am today, though maybe they would not have done so if they knew I would end up a lawyer.
I’m not sure I believe in heavenly angels. It’s hard to after the ordeal I went through. But today, with One Family, I believe in earthly ones.
One Family was my face of hope and I thank you all for making my life as possible as it is today
David Hatuel tells his story:
On 2nd May 2004 I lost my family—my wife Tali and our four daughters: Hila 11, Hadar 9, Roni 7, and Merav 2. They were shot by terrorists while driving from Gush Katif to Ashkelon to meet me. The car was forced to swerve off the road and then the terrorist approached the car and shot them at point blank range. My wife was nine months pregnant… with our unborn son.
I thought to myself that I could not go on. I’d lost everything but my friends from my neighborhood stood by me, supporting me and stayed with me at every moment. And if it wasn’t for them and for the support of One Family, I would not be standing here today. Every day a One Family counsellor came to me giving me the support I desperately needed. They were the face of hope and gave me tools to cope and get through those long days of despair. Day by day, slowly but surely I could see a way forward.
At times memories are what helps my heart continue pumping, to keep on progressing forward. For it is the recollections of good times, which enwrap within them the experiences, the smells, and the scenes which once were and will never return – awakening a desire to once again form new memories, to once again experience life.
Yesterday, was the 13th anniversary of my families’ murder. I lit five memorial candles last night and glanced at the burning flame. That same burning flame that is now inside me giving me the courage to come and talk to you this evening. For I know that without people like yourselves, supporting the work of One Family, this outstanding organization, the terrorists that decimated my life would be able to count many more victories. Thanks to people like you, I have been able to cope and move forward with my life.
I have married Limor and together we have five beautiful children. I am once again building a home. My new home is an addition and not a replacement of the home that was destroyed. My wife and children live inside me. I am like a tree whose branches were cut off and now they are growing again. I had two options: Fall down and be totally destroyed, or stand up and live. I am choosing to live! And as President of One Family, I hope I am helping others choose that same path.
Following the speakers Mary Dan Goor reiterated how One Family had helped her to rebuild her life after her son was killed in service to Israel.
Avigador has been a member of One Family since his parents, grandfather and brother were murdered in their family home in Elon Moreh, Avigdor when a terrorist infiltrated their home on March 28, 2002. His parents David & Rachel, both 50, maternal grandfather Rabbi Yitzhak Kanner, 83 and his brother Major Avraam Gavish, 20 were killed instantly. Avigdor’s world was torn apart on that fateful evening. Avigdor describes the feeling as “a radioactive bomb and the radiation keeps hitting us, even after many years” Avigdor was serving in the IDF at the time and was only 20 years old. The remaining six children, ages 15 to 22, managed to escape out of a second floor window whilst the terrorist was still in the house looking for them. For Avigdor and his siblings, the pain never goes away. Like other members of the Ophan’s division of One Family, the tragic and sudden loss of both parents in terrorist attacks undermines their very foundation, their sense of stability and security. Avigdor and his siblings were taken in by the One Family orphan division and it remains a huge part of their lives until today.
Together with one Family, his music and his ‘Emunah/belief’ , he has been able to cope and breathe once more.
Avigdor studied engineering but in the last 6 years he has focused on his musical career recently launching his first album “Yom Chadash-New day”. His album is the ‘bridge between pain and hope’.
One Family has been an intrinsic part of Avigdors life since the fateful terror attack and has encouraged him to follow his dreams. Avigdor recently went on a One Family retreat to new York, Avigdor Picture 6 with other members of the Orphan’s division where he fulfilled a lifelong dream playing the piano on the fabled stage at the Carnegie Hall. Avigdor Picture 7
Avigdor speaks through his music and will lead all of us with a toast to the President & the State of Israel playing the Hatikvah, which means hope – and is exactly what tonight’s evening is all about?
Earlier this year 16 amazing ladies were brought to the UK by One Family and hosted with families in London for a respite week .
One Family brought a group of bereaved mothers and widows to London for a respite trip. All of the ladies had lost either a son, daughter or husband in a terror attack in israel, one had been lost in the Bulgaria Bus Bomb recently. Their stories are sad and harrowing, yet they manage to carry on and deal with their daily lives. The group were brought over to London for a respite trip to give them a break, change of scenery and to see that people everywhere support them emotionally and as well as in other ways.
During their stay they were treated to a spa day at the home of a donor, where therapists gave their time for free to treat the ladies to manicures, pedicures, massages, facial and hair and make up to ready them, for their week ahead. The ladies begun their week with a renewed energy and looking glamorous too!
Messages from some of our lovely , generous therapists who helped on the day:
a) The ladies who I met were a true inspiration. It is so wonderful that One Family can bring them to London – so they can have a break from ‘real life’.
b) Thank you was amazing to hear the story’s of such sad situations and was very happy to take part xx
c) It was amazing and satisfying to be part of this lovely giving event! – Thank you very much
This was followed by dinner and a trip to theatre to see Mamma Mia.
The following day begun at another donors home with breakfast and art therapy to be followed by a shopping trip. They left their shopping trip with bags full of goodies for their families back in Israel. Friday evening shabbat began at Hampstead Garden Suburb synagogue with a communal Friday night dinner, where the ladies ,their host families and other guests enjoyed an evening together hearing about the women, their stories and their families. They were truly inspirational as you will see from the messages from the host families.
The ladies spoke eloquently and emotionally about their lost loved ones.
On Shabbat they enjoyed a fabulous kiddish at the synagogue ,which was followed by an evening at Mixology in East London learning how to make cocktails and clearly enjoying the experience.
Sunday began with a tour of London where they went on the London Eye, followed by a tour of Kensington Palace and the Princess Diana dress collection, as well as Buckingham Palace and other sights of London, and they were NOT defeated by the extremes of weather we endured that day from rain, to sun and wind!
The week culminated in a fabulous farewell party at the home of another donor where everyone learnt more about the ladies and their families and the people they had lost.
The group all had an amazing time and sent this message before they left on Monday morning:
Dear committee & all the dearest families hosting us in our wonderful visit to London,
No words to express our thanks and appreciations for the great hospitality, care, attention and endless pampering in this special and unforgettable week!
It has been an incredible experience for all of us, and we return to Israel with renewed strength.
We love you all!
Nava and all the participants of March 2017 One Family Visit to London.
The hosts who were all first timers sent the following messages this morning after their guests left much rested after their respite trip, for their return to Israel.
Messages from our host families:
a) I was a first timer with One Family and as someone said last night I feel I have really experienced something very special over the last few days. Incredible group of ladies, we can only admire the sacrifices they have made for Israel. Amazing organisation throughout. I will miss Chava. Thank you. Louise x
b) I feel exactly the same Louise as it was our first time too. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to host and to meet Rina and all the wonderful brave ladies. Last night was just amazing and we feel grateful to have been a part of it.
c) It was an exceptionally special few days in my life. All the ladies were so inspirational and I just feel I have learnt so much from them all. Sigal, the lady I hosted, kept telling me how much we have all given to them, but the truth is that they have actually given us hosts so much more!! What a wonderful group of ladies. Thrilled to have been a part of this. Xxx
d) We feel exactly the same this was a group of very brave and inspirational woman. We also felt we have learnt so much from them. It has been a very special few days and among the tears it was so good to see the smiles too. So glad to have taken part in this programme, we hope that they have some wonderful memories of their trip xxx
e) I feel truly blessed to have been a part of this unbelievable few days. These ladies were a real inspiration and I also felt that I got so much from them all. If we helped them in any way I feel truly grateful. Lovely to meet the hosts and one family organisation in London – Thank you all xx
f) What an incredible and special few days it has been. Having Naama and Esther in our home was an honour.. I never released until now what One Family did, they actually put themselves into these bereaved families’ lives until they can breathe again. Amazing. – I will miss all these wonderful ladies so much….
g) It was a real privilege to be involved and host but I must say I am blown away by Debbie and all you other generous wonderful ladies involved in One Family that give your time and open your homes to organise this wonderful charity and bring these ladies out… you are all just as inspirational
h) It was a truly special experience as always. The life stories resonate and haunt me from one group to the next and each group is so special and so humbling to meet. The recurring theme is how One Family never gives up and will always be there to hold the hand of bereaved families so they can rebuild a new life together. It is an honour and privilege to be able to help in a very small way. Thank you for all your hard work in bringing the groups to London. Xx
i) I can only reiterate what everyone else has already so eloquently written. Truly memorable. Xx
We would like to thank our hosts and our fabulous ladies who have given so much for us all!
If you would like to host our next group please email email@example.com or visit www.onefamilyuk.org
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Refugee children have been left to fend for themselves as the civil war in Syria appears to draw to a close and the world decides how to help these victims of terror and when it will act. The UN stands by and speaks out.
But, Israelis have decided to act themselves as time slips by and help the refugee children of Aleppo and Syria.
In this post we reveal the stories behind the headlines and learn of selfless actions which support refugee children in Syria.
While Israel has decided not to take part in the conflict that has ravaged its Syrian neighbor for five years, the fighting between various factions taking place on its border in the Golan Heights and the horror confronting its civilians has sometimes pushed the Jewish State and its citizens to act.
This is especially the case of the “Bus of Angels” project, initiated by Israeli non-profit organisation Amalia, whose objective is to transfer Syrian children to Israeli medical centers for treatment. Amalia is an Israel-based charity providing health care for displaced Syrian women and children by taking them to Israeli hospitals is breaking down stereotypes and historical enmities, one case at a time.
i24news met with Moti Kahana, who initiated the project, and who has for several years sought to increase the initiatives to bring aid to Syrian civilians.
In an interview broadcast on i24news‘ French-language “L’Hebdo” program, Kahana explained that the idea for the project was born from exchanges with Syrians who had managed to cross the Israeli border. According to them, the most important thing was to provide medical assistance to civilians.
Mordechai ‘Moti’ Kahana, an Israeli-American businessman and philanthropist, poured his own money into helping those displaced by the Syrian civil war in 2011. He sold his company and founded Amaliah, a New York-run charity focused on getting aid into the war-torn country., in 2013.
Mr Kahana told The Independent he was inspired to devote his time to helping the victims of Syria’s complex war after a visit to the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem in 2010. “Never again – not to us and to no one else,” he said.
“I cannot let these people suffer and die and walk away from it. I just cannot do it.”
To achieve this, however, it was necessary to convince the Israeli government to allow the entry of Syrian citizens into its territory, something which took years. According to Kahana, it was the terrible reality on the ground that eventually persuaded the authorities to respond positively to his request.
Kahana acknowledges his project’s modest contribution. So far, only three buses have been chartered.
“We have set up a pilot program to see how it works, and it has worked very well and the reactions have been very positive,” he told i24news.
“Our goal is to bring more than 10,000 women and children to Israel in 2017. People come in and go home at the end of the day, everything is funded by our organisation. That is, the Israelis do not pay for it, its the world that pays via donations. It shows that there is still hope,” Kahana said.
The 48-year old Israeli, who has devoted his life to humanitarianism, also hopes that when those Syrian children who have been cared for in Israel become adults, “they will remember who were there enemies, and mostly who were their friends.”
But it is mainly the lessons of history that inspired Kahana. Speaking to i24news, Kahana recalls the famous poem of the Pastor Martin Niemöller on the cowardice of German intellectuals at the time the Nazis rose to power, which has been engraved on a wall at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem.
“When they came to fetch the Communists, I did not say anything, I was not a Communist, when they came to look for the Jews, I said nothing, I was not a Jew. And there was no one left to protest…” the poem reads.
“If we [the Jews] believe that we can watch what happens without engaging ourselves, and let Aleppo fall, let us remember the poem at Yad Vashem: ‘they will come for us.’ And I tell you, they will come. Their goal is to capture the entire Middle East, and they are on the way, step by step,” he warned.
Kahana, an idealist, concludes on a positive note: “I no longer believe in the power of politicians, but I have not lost faith in humanity…We the people can stop the war in Syria.”
For the sake of Syrian civilians, may he speak the truth.
Mr Kahana had to convince the Israeli authorities to let Amaliah operate despite the safety concerns, coordinating with both the Israeli Defence Forces and the Free Syrian Army rebel alliance to reach people in need.
As of September, Amaliah has managed to start a healthcare programme which takes buses of women and children from southern Syria across the border to Israeli medical facilities for check-ups and treatment at day clinics.
“In just one day we can save a kid’s life from suffering, infection. Some kids they come in with one eye, they can’t see,” Mr Kahana said. “In Syria they cannot take care of it. In hospital [in Israel] one hour later, that’s it, the kid can actually see again.”
Demand for Amaliah’s services is overwhelming. It is the only aid organisation of its kind operating in south Syria, and thousands of people get in touch through social media every day, the charity says.
Many of the adults and children treated haven’t seen a doctor in years, and those children in need of serious care end up staying.
The Israeli state has by and large tried to stay out of Syria’s bloody civil war. The initiative is notable for how it upends the political enmity traditionally felt by citizens of the two countries.
“I think they’re actually probably really hesitant to go to Israel for the first time, it takes them time to warm up and once they see that we’re here to help them,” Betsy Laikin, Amaliah’s media director, told Israeli TV.
An American-Jewish organisation working out of Israel to help Syrians, does surprise people, Ms Laikin added. But Mr Kahana’s efforts to help deal with the war’s fallout over the past few years has strengthened relationships between the charity with Syrians both inside the country and those who have left, she said.
Each bus can transport around 45 people at a time. Amaliah is aiming for one more trip before the end of the year, and hopes to give 10,000 Syrian civilians access to medical treatment at Ziv Medical Center in Safed in 2017.
The charity’s greater aim is to support projects that create partnership, stability and prosperity with the Middle East, their website reads.
Fed up of ‘standing idly by’, activists in the Jewish state have raised more than £200,000 for Syrians in need recently.
Israelis fed up of “standing idly by” have promised to help hundreds of thousands of Syrian children left stranded and starving after the Russian and Syrian governments reduced Syria’s biggest city to rubble.
Organisers of the grassroots effort ‘Just Beyond the Border’ said they were bypassing Israeli government inaction and taking direct action, motivated by memories of the Holocaust.
“Hundreds of thousands of children are now refugees, orphans, torn apart from the world they knew,” the group said. “They are just trying to survive the cold winter.”
They have so far raised more than £200,000 from more than 5,300 individual donors, and have enlisted the help of Israeli Flying Aid to deliver blankets, medicine, sanitation kits and baby food.
Organiser Yoav Bakshi Yeivin said: “As an Israeli child I grew up asking where the world was when we needed them most. As a Jew I always knew that I was expected to be there, to help and lend a hand. There is no nation that knows better than us how lethal apathy can be.”
He said the world was “watching, considering its options,” but added: “As an Israeli, a Jew and a neighbour I can’t just stand idly by.”
Another organiser, Shivi Froman, said: “The reality in Syria is complicated for us as Israelis but inaction is not an option. We want to take children out of the equation because children are children and they deserve assistance irrespective of how complex the reality might be.”
A Syrian refugee now living in Turkey has created a website to acknowledge the help that Israel, and Jews worldwide, have been providing to displaced residents of his native country.
39-year-old Aboud Dandachi, who worked in high-tech before the war, created a website called Thank you Am Israel, which links to stories documenting aid provided by Israel, as well as global Jewish organisations, given to his countrymen during the civil war that has killed over 250,000 and forced millions from their homes.
Dandachi told Ynet on Friday that he grew up being told that “the Jews are evil,” but over the past five years, he has seen that “the Jews are the most humane and generous people of this era. When I see that Hezbollah and the Iranians are coming to kill me and I’m forced from my home by Syrians, and then I hear that Israelis and Jews are helping Syrians, my view of the world changes.”
Dandachi suggested that when the civil war is over, Syria should make peace with Israel, as “there no reason for us to be in a conflict with Israelis.” He praised Israel for “doing exactly what it must do.”
It is not taking part in the war, but is helping wounded Syrians who need help. And it’s not only the government. Israelis are helping Syrian refugees in Jordan, in Greece, Serbia, North America. No one would have blamed the Jews and the Israelis if they had said it was not their problem. That is, by the way, what many Arabs and Arab countries did. The Gulf states, for example, shut their doors to Syrians – and these are the countries that call themselves friends of Syria….
Dandachi created his website last December, because “we as Syrians cannot give back to Jews what they give to us, so we should at least thank them.”
He explained the motivations behind his website on its “about” page:
It is said that one of the truest moral tests of a society is in how it treats those in need, and who have nothing to offer in return save for gratitude. It is a challenge that this generation of Israelis and Jews have met with exemplary generosity and charity, and it is that generosity that Thank You Am Israel was set up in acknowledgment and appreciation of.
Thank you to the people of Israel and the Jewish people the world over, for showing kindness and charity to Syrians, whether it is through your IDF medical teams, your aid workers in Greece and the Balkans, or your congregations in North America raising money to aid and sponsor Syrian refugees. God bless you and protect you.
In Humanitarian Heroes in a Wrathful World, which was published in the November 2015 issue of The Tower Magazine, Nathan Jeffay described the efforts of the Israel-based nonprofit IsraAID to rescue and rehabilitate Syrian refugees in Greece.
As boat after boat arrives at the Greek island of Lesbos, the refugees aboard are met by a cacophony of languages from aid workers offering help. But there is only one team of aid workers from the Middle East that can talk to these refugees from Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere in their own language. To their surprise, it is the Israeli team.
“It feels like I dreamed it,” said a bemused 26-year-old man from Damascus. “I never thought an Israeli would treat me.” His wife had just received medical help from IsraAID, a humanitarian aid agency that started working on the European refugee crisis in September. It currently has a team in Lesbos and another on the Serbia-Croatia border.
The Israeli team checked his wife, who is nine months pregnant, as she stepped off the boat, and took her to the hospital for emergency treatment. “I wouldn’t have known that she was not okay, and because of them I knew to get her attention,” he said.
Lesbos lies on a stretch of Greek coastline that faces Turkey. And it is from Turkey that the refugee boats are dispatched by cynical human traffickers. They will pack 50 people into a boat meant for 20 and take U.S. $1,700 from each. Then they designate a driver from among the refugees, and take no further interest in whether they survive or sink. Piles of abandoned boats and lifejackets give a sense of just how many thousands of refugees have passed through here in recent weeks.
Two members of the IsraAID team—a nurse and a doctor—are stationed on the shore night and day, and race to meet every boat that arrives. If the weather is bad and the boats stop 10 to 20 meters from shore, they wade out to carry children and help the elderly. If the weather is good, they wait on shore with blankets and food. Then they give IV drips to the dehydrated and treatment to the injured. The refugees are usually relived to find aid workers who speak Arabic, and bombard them with questions about the Greek bureaucracy’s procedures for refugees.
Israel has spent years trying to avoid getting sucked into the vicious civil war raging in neighboring Syria. It’s now wading into the conflict in a way you wouldn’t expect.
On Tuesday 20 December 2016, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he has ordered his government to “find ways” to bring injured civilians from Aleppo, Syria, to Israeli hospitals. That could clear the way for hundreds of Syrian refugees, a country still technically at war with Israel, to cross into the country at the express invitation of a Prime Minister normally known for his hard-line positions on Iran, the Palestinians, and other issues.
Israel, which shares a long border with the war-torn country, has already treated thousands of both civilians and rebel fighters in field hospitals located right along the border. There has been intense fighting on the Syrian side — including occasional strikes carried out by Israel itself against ISIS targets, such as a strike in late November on a vehicle carrying four operatives from an ISIS-linked group that had opened fire at an Israeli patrol.
One such Israeli-run field hospital, the Ziv Medical Center, has treated more than 2,500 Syrians since 2013, when the civil war began, according to Dr. Salman Zarka, the hospital’s director.
But Netanyahu’s announcement marks the first time Israel has offered to take Syrians wounded on distant battlefields into Israel itself. The city of Aleppo, which has been the bloody epicenter of the fight for control of Syria for the past year, is located almost 400 miles away from the Israeli border.
Israel will continue to assist its refugee neighbours in this terrible times .
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