Our world has changed since I wrote my last update to you in May. For one thing, Israel has a new Prime Minister and leader. Naftali Bennett now captains the good ship Israel, effectively ending Bibi Netanyahu’s 12-year tenure. The fact that Bibi survived so long on the stormy seas of Israeli politics is an admirable feat.
Naftali Bennett will need fair winds and calm seas, at least in the near term, as he governs an 8-party coalition with opposing views and competing ambitions, some religious, some secular. Multi-party cabinets have a dubious history in Israel – most don’t last for long!
Bennett also assumes command in the wake of several days of intense conflict and rocket barrages that forced most Israelis into bomb shelters or safe rooms in their homes. The fact that an uneasy ceasefire is holding hasn’t stopped Gazans from sending incendiary balloons into Israel or Israel responding with the air force and new bombing sorties over Gaza. Bennett will need the Wisdom of Solomon to govern under a myriad of challenges.
As I mentioned in my May update: "Because our support for Israel is 24/7, we do not make special appeals during times of crisis. Instead, we maintain strong communication links with the charities in Israel; this allows us to assess the changing needs and respond as we can. Your faithful and generous support enables us to do the most good whenever necessary.”
I can now report that we have taken action in recent days by responding to special appeals for assistance in the aftermath of rocket attacks on Israeli communities, especially those in the Gaza Border area:
From our colleagues working in Sderot:
"In regards to your inquiry about putting together emergency support, we concluded that we need to focus on the weakest links in this struggling border community:
1. Children in special education, kindergartens, and schools, NIS 15,000
2. The Bnei Menashe community that immigrated from northeastern India, NIS 20,000
3. Immigrants from Ethiopia who immigrated in recent months, NIS 20,000
4. Children and adolescents at risk in clubs and after-school classes, NIS 30,000
5. Summer camps and activities: - to make sure that these young children will have planned daily activities in protected facilities, NIS 35,000
6. Special recreational trauma care for children at risk and those belong to the above-mentioned categories (still working on it).”
C4i has met all the needs on this list! Praise God!
Summer Camps for children-at-risk:
We received the following urgent appeal from The Jaffa Institute only days ago:
"After 15 very stressful and challenging months, it seems that we are now beginning to return to ourselves. In one month schools will be closed and the summer will begin. Hundreds of children will once again find themselves without positive, constructive activities. The middle class and upper class families will send their children to expensive summer programs. Many of them will take their children on trips abroad. I fully understand them. These were the most stressful months of their young lives and they definitely need time off. However, the poor children in Jaffa and Bet Shemesh do not have these options. If we don’t provide them with summer programming, they will spend their entire summer vacation on the streets, and that is no laughing matter. They will fall prey to the most destructive elements in our society…
The problem is that we are totally underfunded. During the Corona months we could hardly raise enough money to pay salaries and keep our programs viable. Now the extra half a million dollars we need for the summer program to accommodate 1000 children is nowhere to be found. We have started our campaign to raise extra funds for summer, but thus far, the responses are minimal. This is understandable as many people have been out of work…”
I’m happy to report that C4i responded to this heartcry by transferring significant funds to save the summer program for the children. While we couldn’t supply the full amount, we were able to give enough to save the program.
Here is the response we received:
"Dear John, Wow! I am absolutely overwhelmed by your expression of solidarity and friendship. You just saved the summer camp program. A thousand happy children owe you and Christians 4 Israel not just a great summer, but more importantly their safety and security after such a trying time. I look forward to seeing you again soon.
I hope you will be greatly encouraged when you read this report and know that your generous support allows us to respond in times of need. The children of Israel have been through a terrifying time when, day after day, rockets were landing indiscriminately all over the country, forcing families to seek safety any way they could. With your help, C4i has provided small measures of comfort and encouragement to them. Thank you!