Operation Protective Edge - Urgent help is needed!
Like most, if not all of you, I have been watching and reading the news from Israel. The kidnapping and murder of 3 Israeli teens, the murder of an Arab teenager, seemingly an act of vengeance, led to the current violence in Israel and the Gaza Strip.
When I have the chance, I listen to Israeli radio streamed live on the internet. Rarely do 10 minutes go by without programming being interrupted by the words, "tzeva adom" (code red) or "azaka" (alarm) followed by the cities, towns or districts for which the alert is sounded. It means that a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip (or southern Lebanon) is on trajectory to that or those communities. If it is determined that the rocket is heading for a populated area, Israel sends up a radar equipped missile from the "Iron Dome," a new system of defense financed by the United States and developed by Israeli technology to take out the rocket fired by terrorists in the Gaza Strip before it can be detonated upon crashing on the ground. The Iron Dome has been incredibly successful with a success rate of 90%.
Needless to say, Israel has responded swiftly and strongly. Since the current round of violence began 10 days ago, over 1,000 rockets have been fired into Israel (almost all from Gaza) and there have been well over 1,000 counter attacks by the Israeli Air Force targeting suspected Hamas operatives and weapons arsenals. As is usual during any conflict, collateral damage occurs. Although Israel warns the residents of targeted buildings and gives the residents time to leave, nevertheless over 200 Palestinians have been killed and one Israeli was killed by mortar fire over the border.
Life is a nightmare for millions of targeted Israelis and many innocent Palestinians both in the Gaza Strip and those living within Israel proper. Imagine hearing dozens of sirens during the day and having less than a minute to get to a shelter (15 seconds for communities near the border with Gaza). Imagine the thousands of people who are now homeless because their homes and all their belongings have been destroyed by bombs. Imagine having to sleep every night in your building's shelter with all the other residents as well. Innocents on both sides are the true victims of the current violence.
The Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (Israel's Reform Movement) that we help to support through our membership in the Union for Reform Judaism has been offering shelter to families in areas regularly being targeted by Hamas rockets, bringing them to the homes of affiliated families not affected as much by the current violence.
In addition, many Palestinians from the Gaza Strip are being transported to Israeli hospitals because there is not enough room in Gaza for them to be treated. Israel does not publicize this fact for the safety of those being treated when they return to Gaza.
What can you and I do?
The Union for Reform Judaism along with the Conservative Movement have joined forces with the Jewish Federations of North America to provide help for the people affected by the rockets and bombs falling. "Stop the Sirens" is a special campaign to raise funds to help those in need during the current violence. You can read more about the need by visiting the URJ site:
Or you can go directly (the URJ site will direct you here as well) to the Jewish Federations site to make a charitable contribution:
The current wave of violence has united all pro-Israel organization from the far right to the far left. No matter where you stand politically on issues concerning Israel and the Middle East, we all stand united in our support for the millions of people affected by the current violence.
Please join with me in making a contribution to help the families being terrorized by blaring of the sirens and the falling of indiscriminate rockets.
The Talmud teaches "kol Yisrael arevim zeh ba-zeh" - All of Israel is responsible one for another. As part of the People of Israel, let us generously help our brothers and sisters and fellow human beings affected by current violence.