Operation Security Blanket
In response to the ongoing rocket attacks that have plagued southern Israel and the IDF’s incursion into Gaza, Jewish National Fund has created Operation Security Blanket: Southern Israel, an emergency campaign empowering American Jews to provide immediate relief for Israeli children and their families living in areas under rocket attack along the Gaza border.
Proceeds are benefitting the community in several ways:
Kassam rockets are designed to scare people off and get them to leave their homes and move away, but the people of Sderot are strong and our work is designed to give them a future and a sense of pride.
The $5 million secure Indoor Recreation Center was conceived of in May 2008 when it was clear that Sderot’s streets were empty; children had no where to play. The center, which will open for Purim 2009, is designed to alleviate the trauma that dictates their lives and give back a sense of normalcy to children and their families. It will have an indoor soccer field, video games, playground equipment, food court, disco, movie theatre, zipline, therapy rooms, courtyard BBQ area, and more. The center, which has rooms that double as bomb shelters, will be used by seniors in the morning, children and youth groups in the afternoon. JNF is partnering with many area organizations; it is a center for everyone. Even if not one more Kassam hits the area the center is a gift to the families of Sderot and the surrounding communities.
For the past few years, JNF has sponsored short vacations for families and children from Sderot and the villages near the Gaza Strip border, to give them respite from daily rocket attacks. Vacations were also provided during times of emergency like the 2006 war with Hezbollah. The first group of 50 children, ages 7-12 from Sderot's Ethiopian community, is in Nes Harim now. JNF hopes to send as many children as possible for five days of rocket-free life and alleviate the trauma and stress they have been living with for years. Additionally the Green Horizons scout groups take children away from the trauma and teach them leadership skills. Through scholarships, JNF is providing this opportunity to children in Sderot who cannot afford membership.
JNF is also focused on providing the funds to build a much-needed fire station and purchase fire trucks in Sderot to help fight fires and protect all open spaces, forests, and sites within rocket range.
Jewish National Fund has consistently been on the ground in Israel with action, not just words. Even as fighting broke out, 120 college students were in southern Israel on JNF's Alternative Winter Break working on community service projects and making a difference to the people who live there. Each participant raised $950 to go on the trip; proceeds went to the recreation center. Operation Security Blanket: Southern Israel will continue to provide real and tangible benefits to the citizens of Israel.
Donations to the campaign can be made online at http://www.jnf.org/donate or by calling your local JNF office at 888-JNF-0099.
JNF's speakers are also available to address the current crisis in Israel. To reserve a speaker from JNF's Speaker's Bureau, or to reach one of JNF’s Israel emissaries who are available for comment, contact Debbie Scher at firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 879-9305 ext. 297 or visit the Speaker's Bureau web page on the JNF website.