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Israelis Share First-Hand Testimonies of Life on the Gaza Border at JNF Event

On Thursday, August 30, Jewish National Fund (JNF) hosted an event at the Park East Synagogue in which three Israelis shared first-hand testimony of their lives along the Gaza border. Addressing the crowd, the Israelis, Yedidya Harush, Michal Uziyahu and Sarit Khanoukaev, spoke passionately about their experiences, detailing everything they and their families have been forced to deal with on a daily basis due to the ongoing conflict. In addition to the rockets and constant verbalized threats of violence, they explained how Hamas terrorists have even taken to using kites and balloons, which say things like “Happy Birthday” or have a smiling face, to start fires on Israeli land. The consul general of Israel in New York, Ambassador Dani Dayan, was on hand to share a few words at the well-attended event.

The presentations were the final leg of a tour coordinated for the Israeli trio by JNF, in the hope of bringing broader awareness of the ongoing conflict to the U.S. For the Israeli civilians living on the Gaza border, life at times is very difficult, especially when the local sirens sound, announcing that they have 15 seconds to get to a bomb shelter before a missile launched by Hamas terrorists possibly strikes their town.

“Our brothers and sisters living on the Gaza border are strong and resilient,” Russell Robinson, the JNF United States CEO shared in a press release. “Right now they need our support and for us to help them tell the real story of the atrocities they are facing. I am proud to bring these brave people to U. S. communities to share the truth behind the headlines and what life is really like when the terror is in your backyard.”

In recent days, many modern media outlets reporting on the conflict have painted the people living in Gaza as sympathetic figures, while almost entirely neglecting the atrocities the people in cities such as Sderot are currently dealing with as a direct result of Hamas terrorists. In addition to being forced to spend nights in safe rooms, fears of a ruined economy and the cost the conflict has had on the land’s ecology, children and adults alike have reportedly been suffering from PTSD due to their experiences.

Harush is a Halutza pioneer, Uziyahu is a mother of two and Khanoukaev is a young woman who grew up in Sderot. Speaking with The Jewish Link, Harush and Uziyahu explained that though things have gotten rough, they are still very resilient and determined to see these acts of terror, ones that occur so often they have become almost routine, come to an end. They hope their presentations will have more people reading about and reporting on their side of things and how simply living in this area has affected them. Uziyahu especially wanted the public to know how grateful she is for the ongoing support of organizations such as JNF.

“We don’t see ourselves as victims and we are not here to make you feel sorry for us,” Uziyahu shared. “We are here to share that this is [our] life and we are proud and privileged to live in such a place. We are grateful to be a part of the Jewish National Fund family. Part of this [tour] has been to say thank you to the amazing support that we got from this amazing family. If you asked us how we [get] through constant emergency routines, the most important thing for everyone is to not feel alone. The first thing you feel in emergencies is that you’re alone. The most important thing to remind us is that we are not alone. We have each other, and we have you, world Jewry, to back us.”

The trio each detailed different aspects of their lives on the Gaza border, during which many attendees could be heard audibly sniffling or seen dabbing at their eyes. Ambasador Dayan was also very moved by their recountings.

“The strength of Israel’s southern communities is being tested once again by the ideological terror of Hamas,” Ambassador Dayan shared in the press release. “They will never achieve their aims, but this event marks an important effort to highlight to the world the unacceptable risk that over a million Israelis live with while Hamas rules in Gaza.”

JNF is a not-for-profit organization that “gives all generations of Jews a unique voice in building a prosperous future for the land of Israel and its people.” If you are interested in learning more about the organization, visit https://www.jnf.org/. Additionally, if you would like to make a donation to support Israel, you can make a pledge at https://www.jnf.org/donate-now. Any amount helps and is greatly appreciated.

By Adam Samuel

Adam Samuel is a journalist from Teaneck. He blogs at adamssoapbox.com.

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