Hun­dreds of thou­sands raised to help vic­tims

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY MAR­CUS DYSCH

BRI­TISH JEWS have been mo­bil­is­ing to help those in Is­rael af­fected by the on­go­ing vi­o­lence.

Ma­gen David Adom UK’s emer­gency ap­peal, launched last month, has raised al­most £300,000, a sum the char­ity said was un­prece­dented.

It hopes to buy a new am­bu­lance to sup­port Is­rael’s emer­gency ser­vices tak­ing part in Op­er­a­tion Pro­tec­tive Edge.

MDA chief ex­ec­u­tive Daniel Burger, cur­rently in Is­rael on a sol­i­dar­ity mis­sion, said he was over­whelmed by the re­sponse.

“Our donors know that we only ever say it’s an emer­gency when we re­ally mean it, so it has been in­spir­ing to see the readi­ness of our donors to help meet the ever-grow­ing costs.”

It is es­ti­mated that the cost of the con­flict to MDA so far is £1.1 mil­lion.

More than £164,000 of do­na­tions was col­lected by UJIA for chil­dren in Is­rael af­fected by the con­flict.

Vol­un­teers took part in a telethon at the char­ity’s head of­fice in Camden, north Lon­don, on Sun­day to raise money for its Chil­dren of the South ap­peal.

The money will en­sure the de­liv­ery of hot meals and day camps across the south and north of Is­rael so that chil­dren can con­tinue life as nor­mal amid safety fears.

David Gold­berg, UJIA’s direc­tor of fundrais­ing, said: “It’s a fan­tas­tic tes­ta­ment both to the vol­un­teers them­selves who have given up their week­end, and to the in­cred­i­ble work that is be­ing done by our part­ners in Is­rael, tak­ing care of chil­dren who need help.”

Two Bri­tish olim have helped co­or­di­nate ef­forts to pro­vide Is­raeli troops with home com­forts as they con­tinue their op­er­a­tion against Ha­mas in Gaza.

Rob­bie Lit­tner and Sofie Se­gal, for­mer mem­bers of Bel­mont Sy­n­a­gogue in north west Lon­don, be­gan col­lect­ing small amounts from friends and col­leagues in both Bri­tain and Is­rael af­ter the start of the IDF’s ground cam­paign last month. They have so far raised more than £2,500.

Mr Lit­tner, who moved to Is­rael four years ago, pre­vi­ously served in the army and the navy. He said he was “sur­prised how many peo­ple do­nated, and from all over the UK, and how much was raised in such a short pe­riod of time. It was quite over­whelm­ing.”

Lon­don-based Sharon Ben Hur has been co-or­di­nat­ing ef­forts to find ac­com­mo­da­tion for Is­raelis from con­flict-af­fected ar­eas in the south.

She has ap­pealed to Bri­tish Jews who own hol­i­day homes in the coun­try to al­low their prop­er­ties to be used while rock­ets con­tinue to hit towns and cities near Gaza.

Af­ter plac­ing ad­verts on so­cial me­dia and com­mu­nity sites, she was able to help place an Is­raeli woman and her seven chil­dren in a home owned by an Amer­i­can from Los An­ge­les. Mrs Ben Hur said: “It’s the summer hol­i­days so

‘It’s been in­spir­ing to see the readi­ness of donors’

a lot of places are full or booked out, but we have been able to help peo­ple who we have never met, mainly in Tel Aviv and Ne­tanya.”

In Leeds, around 500 pro-Is­rael sup­port­ers held a sol­i­dar­ity event on Sun­day. It was the largest such event in the city for a num­ber of years. Or Ne­hush­tan, Leeds’s Jewish com­mu­nity’s shali- ach, said: “Jewish and non-Jewish sup­port­ers of Is­rael waved their Is­raeli flags along­side Union flags, held ban­ners and said ‘Yes to Peace, No to Ter­ror!’.”

More than 200 peo­ple at­tended a panel event or­gan­ised by Ma­sorti Ju­daism at New North Lon­don Sy­n­a­gogue on Sun­day, which in­cluded a live link to Is­raeli and Pales­tinian speak­ers.

The Joseph In­ter­faith Foun­da­tion’s Na­tional Coun­cil of Imams and Rabbis wrote to the Guardian to ex­press con­cern at the vi­o­lence. More than a dozen re­li­gious lead­ers signed the let­ter, which called for a cease­fire and bet­ter un­der­stand­ing be­tween Mus­lim and Jewish com­mu­ni­ties in Bri­tain.

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