After a period of relative quiet in Israel, the region has recently seen a renewal of violence – from the murder of the Fogel family last month, to last week’s surge of fighting and rockets between Israel and Gaza. In a bit of hopeful news, yesterday Israel and Hamas discussed a possible ceasefire, but calm has not been restored to the area as of yet, and the long-term prognosis is, of course, still tenuous.
This renewed violence is devastating for peaceful citizens on both sides of the conflict, and also for American Jews watching from afar. Meanwhile, there are both immediate steps that need to be taken to aid victims of the violence, as well as long-term action necessary to usher in the peace that, ultimately, is our goal.
The following are some ways North Americans can volunteer to aid victims of terror, to support Israel in its fight against terrorism, and to work towards achieving lasting peace in the region:
- Volunteer with or donate to Magen David Adom or Zaka – two volunteer humanitarian organizations in Israel that aid victims (via medical care, search and rescue missions etc.) in the immediate aftermath of an attack.
- Volunteer with One Family Fund, Atzum, or the Israeli Center for the Treatment of Psychotrauma, three organizations that provide direct service and support to victims of terrorism.
- Serve as a volunteer with the Israeli Defense Forces through Mahal or Sar-El, two initiatives that bring North Americans to assist in non-combat roles on military bases in Israel.
- Volunteer with an organization that works to achieve peace and coexistence between Jews and Arabs. You can find various opportunities to serve via Alternative Learning and Volunteering in Israel.