Update #4: Israel Emergency Grassroots Response Initiative
The Israel Emergency Grassroots Response Initiative connects grassroots leaders addressing urgent needs on the ground with resources and support. As if there was a civilian draft, volunteers and local community leaders have stepped up to help the many citizens whose lives have been torn apart by the brutal October 7 massacre. We regularly share priority needs informed by leaders on the ground so you can learn and pivot your support through the Initiative.
This week we’re highlighting the following needs (read details below):
- Support for evacuees from the North
- Local Neighborhood Integration for Evacuees
- Rehabilitation for the Injured
- Community Resilience
- Culture and Humanity
- Releasing the Hostages – a top priority until all are released.
This Week’s Focus Areas in Detail:
1. Support for evacuees from the North
While most of the focus and government support have turned towards evacuees from the south, at least 65,000 people have evacuated from the north. Many of them have not received the same benefits or support and struggle with even more ambiguity around when they can return. Additional efforts are being made to provide first-line support with housing, childcare, educational frameworks and more
2. Local Neighborhood Integration for Evacuees
Thousands of evacuees are now moving or will move from hotels into neighborhoods and more semi-permanent arrangements. Building connections with local community centers, special support for integration into local schools and youth groups, job counseling and placement, flexible funds, and guidance and coaching for both the evacuees and their new neighbors who are welcoming them are key.
3. Rehabilitation for the Injured
About one-third of the thousands of civilian and soldier casualties will require specialized rehabilitation. Some 70% of them will require neurological care for injuries to the brain, spinal cord, or nervous system. There are also many amputees. Typically, patients will undergo rehabilitation for anywhere between a month and several years, often paired with essential mental health support and rehabilitation. The country already has a low number per-capita of rehabilitation beds. Support for new rehab equipment and care as well as transportation costs for those who need to travel to rehab is imperative. Please contact us to see a list of specific equipment needs.
4. Community Resilience
Alongside integrating into new neighborhoods, supporting evacuees to build and sustain community together is a key need right now, especially for kibbutzim which are rooted in shared living. Evacuees are reacting very differently to fundamental choices about safety and reconstruction. These are very personal decisions and supporting facilitation to bring local groups together and decide how to rebuild civic and other organizations is essential while honoring each person’s agency to make choices about their future.
5. Culture and Humanity
With so much rightful attention on basic services, we must also not lose sight of the beauty and art that lifts up communities and provides nourishment for the soul and the will to live and thrive. We have heard from many who have been evacuated and lost loved ones that art and culture can heal and inspire and will play a pivotal role in societal recovery and revival. Special art exhibits, workshops, crafting, writing and more as a form of therapy are all needed at this juncture. Stay tuned for a December 21 webinar with the curator of the Kibbutz Be’eri Gallery, the most prominent gallery in the south and now completely destroyed and her efforts to continue to make and show art alongside colleagues from Jerusalem as an act of radical defiance.
6. Releasing the Hostages
We will continue to include efforts to release the hostages as a top priority area in every communication until they are released. Advocating for them and telling their stories is the most important thing we can all do. More than 1,500 volunteers, including top security, medicine, media, and legal experts, are working together to push for the release of 239 hostages and to support their families. This requires a tremendous amount of advocacy to influence global opinion and especially the countries that have any kind of relations with Hamas, financial support and psychological assistance for family members, worldwide media and PR campaigns, organizing events and activities to maintain global awareness, and more.
Pidyon shvuyim (releasing the captive) is one of the most important mitzvot, commandments, in Jewish tradition. Support is needed for this critical effort. Please visit and share this site with the individual stories of each person who has been kidnapped.
Make an unrestricted gift to address the highest-priority needs or give for a specific area.
These are urgent needs. Every dollar raised will be forwarded and advanced by the Initiative to provide immediate support.
Please notify us of contributions so we can advance the funds.
Details about persisting needs from past updates are linked below: