January 7, 2007 / 17 Tevet 5767
In January's edition of HaKol, the Lehigh Valley Jewish Newspaper, Mark L. Goldstein poignantly writes: "…While the war with Hezbollah is over and the missiles are not falling, it would be foolhardy for us to think everything is back to normal in Israel. The impact of the war is still being hard-felt in Israel. The Israel Emergency Campaign continues to assist Israel and Israelis with war-related items as well as preparedness for the next conflict – and everyone in Israel knows there will be a next time.
"… We don’t need missiles to fall on Israel to prompt us to care. We don’t need Israel’s woes to be front page news to prompt us to respond."
And respond is what the Israel Emergency Campaign (IEC) continues to do. The Jewish Agency for Israel recently received $28 million from the United Jewish Communities' Israel Emergency Campaign to continue its essential programs for Rebuilding the Galilee and Assisting Sderot and the Gaza Perimeter region, where Kassam rockets continue to traumatize Israel's citizens.
Jewish Agency programs touch lives, putting Israel's citizens on the road to personal, communal and economic recovery. The funds allocated by the IEC are for critical programs that include:
- Loans to small businesses in the North - these loans will go to small businesses with the capacity for growth, but without access to capital markets and support the revitalization of northern Israel's war-devastated economy.
- Immediate grants to very small businesses in the South - following the success of this program in the North, small businesses that are in deep financial difficulty due to the ongoing hostilities will receive emergency assistance.
- Scholarships for students called-up for emergency reserve duty - this supplemental allocation will ensure that all eligible students, who defended their country but were unable to work to pay for college tuition, will receive a scholarship.
- Incentive Scholarships for Students at Sapir College - to ensure that college registration in the western Negev Sapir Regional College does not decrease and young people do not leave the region.
- Fund for Victims of Terror - the reestablishment of this Fund will play a vital role in meeting the needs of families and individuals injured by the war and other acts of violence against Israel not fully met due to various limitations or where other types of funding fall short.
- Responding to Trauma at Ibim Student Village - this program will provide many of the new immigrant young people living at this student village near Sderot with individual counseling, workshops and structured activities to deal with the ongoing trauma they face from the relentless Kassam rocket attacks.
- Youth Resources for Recovery - this pilot project aims to counteract the negative impact the war had on northern youth through deepening their relationship to their region, their connection to the land and to their Jewish Zionist identity.
Mark Goldstein continues in his article, "Here we are entering January 2007, nearly 5 months since Hezbollah fired its last missile into Israel. The impact of the war is no longer front page news and virtually absent from broadcast and cable news reports. Seldom, if at all, do we hear about the soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah (and Hamas). So the tree-in-the-forest riddle would prompt us to ask: If it is not in the news, is it really happening? Unequivocally, YES."