The Victims of Terror Fund

Terrorism

Photo: Vadim Daniel

“It is difficult to convey the utter fear, the terror, and the emotional and physical devastation of a rocket attack. I have been the victim of more than one in Sderot, but I believe that we must be strong. Because if we leave Sderot, the next day we’ll have to leave Ashkelon and then Tel Aviv, and eventually we will have no home”.

So said Michal, the mother of two young girls, a science teacher and a woman who strongly believes in standing strong in the face of terror. She and her family have also been the victims of a number of Kassam rocket attacks.

The first time was a Sabbath evening when the “red alert” warning siren sounded. Many times the family ignored the alert, but for some reason, Michal’s husband told everyone to run to the security room. As he was closing the door, a Kassam rocket landed directly outside their home. “The bedroom window shattered and my husband was covered in blood,” said Michal. “It was a miracle that he was not killed.”

The second time occurred just after Michal dropped her daughters off for school, a mere five months later. Again, the sirens sounded and Michal dashed out of her car to find shelter in the nearest house. But the house was locked. Michal squeezed herself as close to the house as she could. A rocket made a direct hit on the house next door and Michal was thrown into the air from the force of the blast. “I shouted for help, but no one heard me.” When she was finally taken to the hospital, Michal was cut and bruised and couldn’t hear in one ear for four months. “Once again, it was a miracle I was alive.”

Given the recent increase in terror attacks, in Jerusalem, our sister city of Beer Sheva and the towns near the border with Gaza; we have been asked how we support victims of terror like Michal. In 2002 the Second Intifada was raging in Israel. Suicide bombers were exacting a tremendous toll in Israeli lives. Concerned Jews in North America watched the devastation and yearned to do something meaningful, something with direct impact to help the beleaguered people of Israel. North American Federations and Keren Hayesod leaders came together and through the Jewish Agency for Israel founded the Fund for Victims of Terror. Today, the Fund stands at the forefront of driving change in the policy, strategy and decision-making for the short, medium and long-term needs of terror victims.

The Fund’s vital goal is to provide direct financial assistance to victims of terror to complement the monetary relief from government agencies and offices. It operates under carefully constructed guidelines, ensuring that Federation dollars are filling gaps left by these regular government response mechanisms. Grants are made in consultation with social workers and those in related professions and are overseen by a steering committee.

The support provided by the Fund helps to improve the quality of life for the victims and their families, to fulfill crucial needs and ease their recovery and rehabilitation. Assistance runs the gamut from medical equipment, rental assistance, basic furniture or home equipment to informal education and enrichment, tuition assistance, welfare needs and any other way deemed worthy of helping victims return to a normal life.

Through your annual donations to Federation CJA’s Combined Jewish Appeal at www.federationcja.org. you are helping to support this fund which steps in to provide immediate relief to victims, and to date has assisted approximately 3,200 families or around 18,000 individuals.