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Federated System Supports Southern Israel Amidst Hamas Attacks

This past week, Hamas intensified its attacks on Israel’s southern border from Gaza, launching nearly 200 rockets at civilian targets, sending families running to bomb shelters. This barrage of rockets comes after months of violent mass riots on the border and the launching of flaming kites and incendiary balloons by Palestinians in Gaza. Over the past four months, more than 7,000 acres of fields and forests in southern Israel have been burned by flaming kites and balloons resulting in millions of dollars in damages. More than 40 fires broke out over last weekend alone in what was the highest number of arson attacks since Hamas declared an unofficial ceasefire with Israel last month.

In response to the growing violence and attacks — the most intense rocket fire since Operation Protective Edge in 2014 — The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) has been working together with local Federation representatives and on-the-ground partner agencies to identify pressing needs of those affected. Remaining fire emergency funds have been allocated and trauma relief services for residents and first responders are being provided by a number of agencies.

• The Israel Trauma Coalition is providing direct on-the-ground care, resilience building workshops and support for therapists and caregivers working with the most vulnerable populations.

• The Jewish Agency for Israel, Federation's overseas partner, has opened a respite summer camp for at-risk children. There, those dealing with the daily challenges of trauma, loss and fear can experience the joys of childhood in a supportive environment.

• Additionally, Emergency Volunteer Projects has been recruiting, training and deploying teams of American firefighters to assist Israeli first responders in affected areas and local communities.

JFNA’s Israel office has emergency protocols in place and stands ready to respond on behalf of the Federation system in the event of a further escalation.

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