(Photo courtesy @ David Yaari)

On Saturday October 7, Israeli citizens woke up to the cruel reality of a barbarous Hamas attack that led to more than 1,200 deaths, with thousands more wounded and over 100 kidnapped, including elderly, women, children and babies. In the days that have passed since the onslaught of the violence, despite the intense pain and unfathomable loss, the people of Israel have united to do their utmost to help the people whose lives have been impacted. From providing meals and life-saving supplies to IDF soldiers, to offering temporary shelter, food and supplies to evacuated residents, it is tremendously moving to see how an entire nation is coming together to help those in distress during these difficult days of war.

According to the JTA, the volunteer efforts have been phenomenal, with people from all walks of society providing assistance to their brothers and sisters in need, putting together care packages with food, toys, clothing, equipment, and personal hygiene supplies. Across the country, donations of food are pouring in. These efforts range from local falafel stores, to Ultra Orthodox communities personally cooking warm nourishing meals for soldiers in the field – all doing what they can to feed the soldiers with love.

In Soroka Hospital, which has been inundated with injured civilians and soldiers, staff and volunteers are working around the clock to give the best care possible. Social workers are volunteering at Dead Sea hotels where evacuees of the Israeli kibbutzim and towns that were attacked are recovering. Residents of central Israel are opening up their homes to fellow citizens who have fled affected areas in the South and along Israel’s northern border, near Lebanon. “I can’t sit and work. I’m a person who feels I need to do something. I can’t watch from the sidelines. In this case I’m not doing reserve duty; I can’t for health reasons. There’s not a lot I can do there, so I do what I can,” Modiin resident Assaf Tzur-El told  JTA.

Joining these efforts has been businesswoman and philanthropist Shari Arison who published a post on social media earlier this week in which she sent her deepest condolences to the families who lost their loved ones in the war. The post received thousands of responses from all over the world and in response to a question asked by one of the followers regarding aid during war, Arison stated that “we are working in every possible way to provide assistance.”

Broad support efforts undertaken by the Ted Arison Family Foundation include the following.

Together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the foundation is working to coordinate the return to Israel of soldiers who want to enlist, doctors, relatives of the dead and enlisted soldiers and has committed to donating vests and helmets to the IDF, in coordination with the Ministry of Defense.

In addition, Arison has donated to the Natal organization, providing immediate mental health care, to the MDA organization for the purchase of protective kits for volunteers and equipment for resuscitation and to stop bleeding in the field, to the rescue union for the purchase of emergency equipment and financing of fuel for vehicles and helicopters, and to the National Academy of Sciences for recruiting and activating volunteers to provide psychological assistance. In addition, they have donated funds to the Assaf Harofeh hospital to establish a trauma treatment center, using oxygen therapy and a specialist treatment team, donated equipment to several communities along the border with Gaza. And Arison Investments has donated equipment to the IDF.

“We are always attentive to the needs that are received and will continue to help as much as possible,” Arison stated.

A special initiative to publicize wartime volunteer opportunities was launched by Ruach Tova, (Good Spirit in Hebrew), a part of the Arison Group, that coordinates volunteering efforts throughout Israel. Project staff are working non stop to connect organizations in need of assistance with potential volunteers who are seeking to help. Arison’s Essence of Life radio and Mahuti project have also been mobilized to provide specialized programming and support to the Israeli public.

(Blood donations. Photo courtesy @ Moti Kimchi)

During these trying times, it is heartwarming to see the scope of the vast range of volunteer efforts that exhibit the power of humanity and the distinctive impact of kindness and compassion. These efforts reflect how people from around the world and throughout the country have joined together in solidarity to express their support for Israel in the face of terrorist brutality and join spirits to hope together for better days ahead.

This article was originally published on Goodnet and appears here with permission.


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