United with Israel supporters, by helping the people of Israel in numerous ways, continue to play a significant role in the defense and support of Israel, particularly during times of crisis.
Since the kidnapping, search effort and brutal murder of three Israeli teenagers, followed by the barrage of over 4400 Hamas rockets and the IDF’s Operation Protective Edge, vast resources have been required to assist both the civilians and soldiers of Israel.
With the launch of the Israel Emergency Aid Campaign, United with Israel (UWI) has been contributing significantly and continuously to these efforts by working closely with key aid providers on the ground and the IDF, who are best equipped to determine the greatest areas of need for the citizens of Israel.
UWI has taken great care to assure that the donations it has received were able to reach as many people as possible, civilians and soldiers, with a keen eye open to assisting those who may have gone overlooked.
Aid for Israeli civilians
Many families in southern Israeli towns have spent the majority of their summer living in bomb shelters. UWI provided food packages for families who were either not able or not willing to leave the shelters to shop for food and basic necessities.
A cause that may have otherwise been overlooked was the need for a shelter at Eden Residential School for at-risk teenage girls. It came to UWI’s attention that the school had been forced to relocate from Kibbutz Karmiya – located south of the city of Ashkelon and approximately two miles north of Gaza – due to the constant rocket attacks. UWI assisted in the relocation by paying the rent and additional faculty expenses incurred in order to keep the school operating in an alternate location, far from the danger zone.
To help keep the youth of the south “sane,” UWI purchased hundreds of board games for children. David Zeit, UWI executive director, explained that the toys and games, geared for ages six up to the teen years, were “part of the plan to get their minds off the war.” The toys were distributed to children in Moshav Uzza, Moshav Shalva, Sha’ar HaNegev, Sderot and Ganei Tal.
Seeing the great need to provide relief from the incessant sirens and rocket attacks in Ashkelon, UWI sponsored buses to transport the residents – particularly children and the elderly – to other areas of the country.
Families with terminally ill children have been greatly affected by the war. UWI helped to relocate children with cancer and their families from the south to the northern city of Tiberias until it was deemed safe for them to return home.
Building Bomb Shelters
UWI’s Bomb Shelter Campaign was a great success. Four additional shelters were installed in the South – two in the city of Netivot and two in Moshav Gilat – bringing the total number of bomb shelters provided in the last two years to 16.
UWI has ordered a large shelter for a road safety school in Ashkelon that accommodates dozens of people. Each child in the city, from kindergarten through Grade 6, must participate in this program throughout the school year. Approximately 80 children attend the school on a daily basis with no place to run for cover. This shelter will be co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Sarasota (Florida).
Helping Israeli Soldiers
UWI and its supporters have always cared about and provided for Israel’s brave soldiers. UWI thus worked with various organizations and individuals to provide extra equipment and personal effects to address the needs of our soldiers, who risk their lives to protect the citizens of Israel.
UWI purchased specialized chairs for female IDF Intelligence officers monitoring Israel’s border with Gaza in order to detect infiltrations. The discovery of dozens of terror tunnels has made this one of the most important tasks of the IDF.
Items in short supply such as underwear, t-shirts, socks, deodorant, large camel packs, pocket knives and much more were sent to the soldiers. Snacks, treats, drinks, ices and care packages were also distributed as a way of saying thank you to our beloved members of the IDF.
There was a big demand for tzitzit (ritual fringes) for thousands of male soldiers. UWI was honored to provide these as an important form of Divine protection.
Valuing the dual nature of any war in Israel on both the physical and spiritual fronts, as well as the Jewish nation’s utter reliance upon God as the supreme Protector, UWI sponsored special Torah study that partnered Talmudic scholars with Israeli soldiers for added Divine protection.
Extra Security Needs
With the discovery of numerous underground terror tunnels built by Hamas, UWI saw the need to provide security items for towns near the Gaza border. Equipment such as sophisticated security camera systems, floodlights and binoculars were ordered for towns bordering Gaza.
The generosity of the United with Israel family of supporters was duly noted and highly appreciated by the individuals and organizations helped throughout these trying times.
Fighting the Media War for Israel
As always, United with Israel was leading the war of information by explaining Israel’s side of Operation Protective Edge to the entire world. As the largest grassroots pro-Israel movement in the world, reaching millions of people in over 100 countries, UWI fought the battle of public opinion for Israel and demonstrated the incredible power of the internet and social media.
Anti-Israel media bias led to protests against Israel around the world. UWI countered this trend by spreading accurate information, supporting pro-Israel rallies and turning its supporters into global activists and advocates for Israel.
The UWI website was cyber-attacked and shut down by supporters of Hamas. However, thanks to the high-level professionals in UWI’s technology team who fought back and deployed the highest level of protection, the website was up and running within the same day.
Thank You from Israeli Soldiers and Civilians
Lt. Col. Yair, Commander, Unit 5037, in a letter to United with Israel, expressed sincere thanks “from the bottom of our hearts – to your organization and the many people around the world who helped and contributed towards assisting our unit and thousands of other IDF soldiers in Israel.” The commander said that the donations and expressions of support “warmed our hearts and raised morale.”
In a letter from the Eden Residential School shelter, Sherrie Gazit of the Eden Association wrote:
“During this recent emergency, together with your help, we have been able to evacuate all the youngsters in Eden’s care to safer places. It is critically important that we continue to diminish the long-term ill effects of constantly living under a security threat.”
UWI cannot thank its incredible family of supporters enough for helping to support the citizens and soldiers of Israel during times of crisis.
Written by: United with Israel Staff