Families from South get warm welcome elsewhere in Israel

Published on Monday, 19 November 2012 by Webmaster

Families from South get warm welcome elsewhere in Israel
Not only soldiers sprang into action the moment Israel’s military launched Operation Pillar of Defense in response to incessant rocket fire from Gaza. Israeli civilians in the center and north of the country also responded by offering Mideast hospitality to families wishing to escape the stress and trauma for a night, a weekend or longer.

Since the start of the conflict with Gaza, 900 rockets have been fired towards Israel, killing three and seriously wounding many others. Over one million people in the South have experienced an endless round of air-raid sirens, and have been told to be no further than 15 seconds from their shelters at any time. The toll on their emotional and physical health is enormous, and many seek a bit of respite for themselves or their children.

In an effort to help, many Israeli communities, organizations and schools got on the hospitality bandwagon.

Jerusalem College of Technology-Machon Lev housed 50 members of the Ashdod chapter of the national youth group Bnei Akiva during the Sabbath of November 16-17. "We are planning to have some more this coming Shabbat if there is still a need," says Machon Lev spokeswoman Rosalind Elbaum.

A yeshiva in Ma'aleh Adumim, northeast of Jerusalem, housed families with children that same Shabbat through an organization in Beit Shemesh, Ezrat Achim Medical Assistance Center. This group placed 350 southern families with hosts in Beit Shemesh and greater Jerusalem. Families of a northern Waldorf School in Israel are hosting families from the Beersheva branch, while children and faculty in the southern AMIT network of schools have been welcomed to take respite at AMIT schools in the north.

Camp Kimama, an international Jewish summer camp with campuses in Michmoret on the Mediterranean coast and in the Upper Galilee, on Sunday was gearing up to house 65 kids ages 10-15, and expected about 20 more from the Beersheva-based Meytarim pluralistic school.

Several of Israel's universities and colleges have offered dorm space for families seeking respite. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, for example, made space for families of dorm students from the South who wished to come and stay.

What Do you Think? Have your say!