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  • Author icon JDC at
  • Author icon May 06, 2019
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Icon Aid vulnerable jews , Cultivate jewish future

Dear Friend,

The emergency situation in Israel’s south has escalated over the last 36 hours, with over 650 rockets fired into Israel since Saturday morning. Four people have been killed and more have been seriously injured in the attacks. PM Netanyahu has declared the area around the Gaza Strip to have a “special status,” a legal designation that gives the government additional powers in order to protect the lives of civilians. Israel last used this provision during the 2014 Gaza war.

JDC Israel’s emergency team came together this afternoon to discuss current and potential needs on the ground.

  • Already in action is the JDC-My5! program, which enables communities in the south to combat emergency situations with greater resilience and mobilise swiftly to help each other. Spokespersons trained through My5! have mobilised and are playing an active role on social media.
  • JDC’s “Virtual CIL” (Center for Independent Living) is also up and running, providing an online community platform for people with disabilities . The Virtual CIL was launched in March 2018, and offers services in Hebrew, Russian, and Arabic. In times of emergency, the platform runs 24-7, providing a place to which people with disabilities can turn.
  • JDC recently produced a handbook for professionals which contains basic theory and practical coaching skills for families in trauma. Professionals working with disadvantaged families in the south have been taking part in trauma education and resilience-building training workshops.

JDC is closely monitoring the situation and keeping open lines of communication with partners in the south. Local authorities are taking increased responsibility and are better organised than they have been in the past vis a vis physical needs of residents. If the situation continues, JDC will likely take increased action. Possible directions include:

  • Community caseworkers and emergency coordinators for the elderly and people with disabilities
  • Increasing support staff for extremely disadvantaged families, and providing training to professionals working with these families
  • Disseminating trauma and emergency related information that has been produced by JDC

During these difficult times our thoughts are with those living under constant rocket fire in the south. There are a number of JDC professionals living within immediate proximity of the Gaza boarder. Three JDC professionals live within a 7 kilometer radius of Gaza, and another 23 JDC professionals live within a 40 kilometer radius of Gaza.

Netta, who works for JDC-Elka, lives in Kibbutz Tzeelim with her husband and two daughters. Her elderly parents live nearby. Netta has been at home with her daughters all day since schools are closed. During one of the sirens Netta was on a work call and had to disconnect quickly in order to gather her daughters and run to the safe room. Netta says that there is an overwhelming sense of uncertainty felt by people in the south. Sirens are constant. Driving on the roads is dangerous. People needing medical attention have an extremely difficult time reaching clinics and hospitals.

Noa also works for JDC-Elka, and lives with her husband and baby in Kibbutz Mefalsim. Noa has spent day and night in the shelter. There was a direct hit to one of the houses of the kibbutz. Fortunately, no one was physically harmed. Yet Noa’s one-year-old baby is starting to react with fear to the wail of the sirens. Noa’s cousins also escaped harm when their house in Ashkelon was hit, the rocket falling on the baby’s bed. The family was in the building’s bomb shelter at the time of the attack.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those living under fire in the south. This week is a particularly special week in Israel, with Yom Hazikaron on Wednesday and Yom Haatzmaut on Thursday. Given the significance of this week, there is hope that things will settle down. The next 24-48 hours will be significant in determining the direction of the current escalation.

We will continue to share updates as the situation develops.

Regards

Philip Bos
Executive Director
The Joint Distribution Committee (Australia)
T: 1300 683 653
M: +61 (0) 419 802 208
E: philip.bos@jdc.org
W: www.thejointaustralia.jdc.org
https://www.linkedin.com/in/bosphilip/
For over a century, The Joint’s mission has been “saving Jewish lives and building Jewish life,” and that work continues today. From young people to the elderly, from large to small communities, we help millions in need each year.

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