By: Viva Sarah Press; israel21c.org
Grassroots initiatives raise $190,000 for emergency supplies for Syrians; charity drives gather warm clothing, toys, medical aid for Syrian people.
Private initiatives by ordinary Israelis continue to gather much needed clothing and medical aid for the Syrian people. A crowdfunding campaign to bring emergency supplies to embattled Syrians is also ongoing and has raised over $190,000 in four days so far.
The recent charity drives by Israelis for their Syrian neighbors come in the wake of the tragic outcome of the fall of Aleppo to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and further atrocities suffered by citizens.
One WhatsApp message that quickly circulated around Israel called for warm clothing, shoes and toys for Syrian children. The message said that all donations would be given to Ziv Medical Center in Safed (Tsfat) and that they would help transfer the collected apparel to Syrian refugees.
“As you know, for over three years, Ziv Medical Center has been treating Syrian casualties. It was only natural that when Israeli citizens asked if they could send warm clothes and toys, especially for the Syrian children, that we would join forces with these amazing people,” a Ziv Medical Center spokesperson tells ISRAEL21c.
The spokesperson tells ISRAEL21c that the initiative began as an idea by one or two private people. Social media helped spread the message and there are drop-off points for donations across the country.
“So many people have turned to us, it’s overwhelming. It shows that people care. And they should care,” the Ziv Medical Center spokesperson tells ISRAEL21c. “There’s so much interest and I think it’s great that people want to help. It’s the right thing to do.”
A crowdfunding campaign called “Just Beyond Our Border – Israelis for the Syrian Children” which aims to raise money for food, medicines, and equipment for the winter to help displaced Syrian children, went live on Thursday. By Monday morning, the campaign had topped $190,000.
“We strongly feel that we can stand aside no more. This is a group of civilians that gather voluntarily with no organization behind it. We cooperate with the Israeli Flying Aid in order to transport the goods that will be purchased to the hands of the needy in Syria. We invite everyone to join us,” reads a statement on the Mimoona campaign site.
“The long war has unraveled the lives of millions of people now living as displaced persons; homeless, without security or a future. In the complex Syrian reality, when aid to one side comes at the expense of the other, we say: Take the children out of this formula. Helping children is always a good thing. It’s essential,” reads the Just Beyond Our Border – Israelis for the Syrian Children mission statement.
Many comments by supporters of the crowdfunding campaign refer back to the Holocaust.
“We cannot remain apathetic,” reads one message. “As a nation that has suffered through a Holocaust on our people, we must act and do something.”
“To save one person is to save the world,” reads another post on the Just Beyond Our Border page.
Meanwhile, doctors in the Israeli army reserves sent a letter on Saturday to IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot demanding that they be called up for service to help treat Syrians wounded in their civil war.
“We know there are security considerations, and we know there are diplomatic considerations. But there is a principle, there is a truth, and there is morality: We must demand from ourselves to be there for them,” Israeli news site 04040 quoted the doctors as writing.
Israeli doctors have treated some 2,600 Syrians since the start of the civil war in local hospitals and along the border in army field hospitals.