December 6, 2010
By Arthur Sandman, Executive Vice President, Jewish Agency International Development
The Jewish Agency continued its respite programs for youth today (Monday), serving 1,300 youth.
The children and teens were brought to amusement parks and other sites throughout Central Israel. Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Shanansky met a group at an amusement park and told them, “I hope that you will have a bit of joy in the Chanukah holiday.” He noted that “The Jewish Agency brought them today from communities that were damaged and homes that were burnt, and brought them to recreation centers, intending for them to have some joy on Chanukah, despite the difficulties of the past days.”
Participants have come from Yemin Orde, Nir Etzion, and the Druze village of Usifiyeh. A larger contingent of Druze children are expected Tuesday, when 200-400 more youth will participate in respite programs.
Meanwhile, the Jewish Agency is continuing its planning for the mid- to long-term. In the mid-term, RACHEL, the National Emergency Authority has identified the need to assist families who will not be able to return to their homes in the near future. In addition, the Jewish Agency is prepared to offer direct financial assistance to the families of those who were killed during the fire. RACHEL will be convening government agencies and NGOs on Wednesday to begin planning for the recovery activities.
In addition to participating with RACHEL, the Jewish Agency is also working with Jewish Federations of North America. As contributions to the federation system are tallied, the Jewish Agency will be better able to assess what resources will be available to assist in the recovery efforts in the Carmel region. We thank you for your continuing efforts, which have already demonstrated the commitment of our Jewish community to connect with Israel and its people.