July 24, 2024
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A Time to Protect. A Time to Build.

Life in Israel is like a rollercoaster ride. Last summer we experienced Operation Protective Edge and all of the international attention that it brought to Israel. It was followed by a flurry of diplomatic activity regarding the so-called Two-State Solution, the ongoing Iranian nuclear threat, and, of course, the high-profile elections in March.

We go from one crisis to another, with barely a moment’s rest in between. We’re the center of attention for news outlets around the world and a magnet for undue attention and, more often, self-righteous condemnations.

In the midst of all the hullabaloo, it’s easy to forget that Israel needs to continue to function as a country. Kids need to go to school, adults need to work, the economy needs to grow… life needs to go on, no matter what today’s headlines in the newspapers are screaming. That is one of the characteristics that make Israel unique. Despite all that is going on around us and within us, with G-d’s help we continue to prosper and flourish even under the most trying conditions.

It is rare to find a person in the Diaspora who fully appreciates this remarkable resilience of Israeli citizens. Israelis do not allow the constant threat of terror to disrupt daily life, nor do they question their steadfast commitment to the land in the face of harsh criticism. On the contrary, they redouble their efforts on behalf of Eretz Yisrael and reaffirm their belief in One Israel for one Jewish people.

Yet, there is an organization that uniquely understands, more than most, the true needs of Israel’s most idealistic Jews and tailors programs to bolster their lives in any way possible. One Israel Fund has been at the forefront of the growing effort to support those among Israel’s most vulnerable residents in Judea and Samaria, both in good times and those more trying.

Many funds popped up during Operation Protective Edge to provide supplies and support to communities in the south of Israel, but One Israel Fund was there before the violence erupted, and One Israel remains there after the fighting has calmed. Now, efforts have expanded from emergency supplies to infrastructure needs, both in the south as well as our vulnerable heartland. One Israel Fund is building the resources to make the communities of YESHA (the Hebrew acronym for Judea and Samaria) in Israel’s heartland a more attractive place to live and raise a family while simultaneously working to protect those living in the south.

To that end, One Israel Fund has recently completed several community-based projects to bolster local neighborhoods, like a new children’s library, playgrounds, and a fitness center, as well as other improvements to develop community life. Additionally, there are numerous new projects that are waiting for funding in the pipeline that will contribute greatly to the quality of life in countless towns and cities.

At the same time, One Israel Fund continues its mission to protect these vulnerable areas by expanding its distribution of security equipment to at-risk communities. Most recently, the organization launched a campaign to arm every Security Chief with newly designed bulletproof vests down south, in Judea and Samaria, as well as along the northern borders with Lebanon and Syria.

Looking back at the past 21 years, one can easily discern the impact these efforts have had on Israel’s heartland. In 1993, barely 75,000 Jews were scattered in small villages and towns throughout the area. They were hopeful but realized they couldn’t do it alone. Thus, One Israel Fund was created to partner with these fledgling communities and to bring much-needed financial support.

Today, in 2015, YESHA boasts a growing population of nearly 400,000, with major cities and towns. It is literally and figuratively “on the map” and, with continued support, could top 1,000,000 residents in just a few short years.

Just think of the effect this massive growth will have on the future of negotiations with our Arab neighbors! YESHA is no longer a region of disjointed villages—it is a force to be reckoned with on the international stage! It is growing exponentially in population, agriculture, and industry.

Don’t forget that One Israel Fund has been ranked as a 4-star charity by Charity Navigator for the past three years, its highest rating, so while supporting Israel you can rest assured that your contribution will make a lasting impact by the most efficient means possible.

By Mordechai Kastelbaum

 

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