Since Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, one of our partners on the ground, the Jewish Agency for Israel, has been increasing its work with the Fund for Victims of Terror. They’ve had to add many new victims to the list since then, including those from the terror attack at the synagogue in Har Nof, car ramming attacks, stabbings, and more. I’m proud and awed that our Federation funds the Jewish Agency’s work, and enables them to set up this separate fund. (You can make a designated gift to the Fund by clicking here or calling (973) 929-3198).
The Fund provides immediate emergency grants of $1,300 to the families within 48–72 hours after an attack, working in conjunction with welfare authorities, the National Insurance Institute, and the Ministry of Social Affairs. It then continues to assist and support families with their additional needs.
Since October 3, because of our support for their infrastructure, The Jewish Agency has given grants to 25 families. When one of their staff went to Pisgat Ze’ev in East Jerusalem to present a check to the struggling mother of a 13-year-old stabbing victim, she was overwhelmed with gratitude and said that she couldn’t believe anyone would think of “a woman like her.”
The Fund was first established in 2002, closed shortly after, and then renewed in 2006 during the Second Lebanon War. More than $30 million has been distributed to approximately 6,000 families overall. The most dramatic assistance is the long-term grants. The Jewish Agency works with the government to build a plan for each individual case. Each family is entitled to a grant of up to 25,000 Israeli shekels (equivalent to approximately $6,250) and can apply up to three years from the date of the attack. It’s probable that they’ll receive 100 to 120 more applications from those still eligible from Operation Protective Edge, and around 100 from those affected by the current situation.
In Vayikra (Leviticus) 19:16, Moses — and we — are told לֹא תַעֲמֹד עַל דַּם רֵעֶךָ, don’t stand idly by the blood of your neighbor. As Jews, we act. I’m grateful for our colleagues on the ground, who give us a meaningful, compassionate way to provide support. And I’m thankful for our UJA Annual Campaign that funds this incredible organization and helps us realize our values.
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