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ICEJ stands with Israeli Care-Givers and Community Protectors!

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Posted on: 
2 Jul 2021
ICEJ stands with Israeli Care-Givers and Community Protectors!

The atmosphere was filled with excitement, but shhh, it is a surprise!

With joy, the ICEJ’s AID team recently went about gathering special messages of encouragement from ICEJ national offices around the world and preparing care gift packages for Israeli care-givers and local security teams and first-responders who live and work along the Gaza border. They have just been through another rough time serving their communities during the recent Hamas rocket war, and we felt they deserved a special ‘thank you’ for their sacrifice and service.

Personalized messages of hope along with photos were sent from Australia, Philippines, South Africa, Uganda, Fiji, Kenya, Switzerland, Finland, Holland, Germany, Italy, France, America, Canada, South America, and other nations and regions, each with a message carefully placed in a uniquely painted gift card. Many of the messages included the scripture from Deuteronomy 31:7 “…Be strong and courageous…” Unknown to them, these were the same words written in Hebrew “chazak v'ematz” (be strong and courageous!) that the AID department requested to have painted on beautifully handcrafted coffee mugs for those receiving our care packages.

The gifts were earmarked for dozens of psychologists, therapists and security officials who selflessly gave of their time and energy around the clock to ensure community safety and resilience in the face of thousands of rocket attacks in the recent rocket war with Hamas in Gaza. They did this while facing the same concerns and fears for family and loved ones as the rest of the Israeli population. The care packages included the personalized card, jam, wine, olive oil, chocolates, tea, coffee, pottery coffee mugs, and a lovely notebook made from recycled paper, bound and hand painted by elderly new immigrants. The hope was that each recipient would take the opportunity, after all the stress and exhaustion, to feel appreciated and to stop and be renewed with loved ones.

Soon, the AID vehicle was packed full and ready to head south to deliver the care packages! Beaming with excitement, the AID team made their way to the Eshkol and Sadot Negev Resilience Centers situated within a few kilometers of the Gaza border.

The unsuspecting care workers were caught by surprise when our team came in laden with gifts for them, and more than one person commented on how much thought went into the gifts. Together with the blessings that came from around the world, there also were special items made with love from all over Israel – from the Golan, the Shomron region, and Jerusalem – all in a collective blessing meant especially for our friends in the South. As an added benefit, the gift package items were specially chosen to strengthen local businesses and immigrant artists across Israel.

At the Eshkol Resilience Center, chief psychologist Yizhar Sha’ar was greatly moved by the gesture. “Knowing that people notice what we are going through and support us is what enables us to be resilient and strong in the face of ongoing attacks. That resilience is the most important thing that keeps us going,” he said.

Ma’ayan Frenkel, Director of the Sadot Negev Resilience Center, shared with Nicole Yoder, ICEJ VP of AID and Aliyah, how their center has been busier than ever since the recent Gaza rocket war ended. “We are providing family therapy and at least three group workshops a day for educators and families with children, in addition to personal trauma treatment sessions,” she related.

Esther Marcus, a trauma center manager and therapist, acknowledged that the work has been so intense, their own families have suffered as a result of the many extra hours invested. Upon receiving her gift package, Esther said it felt like they had just received a “big hug”!

Nicole reassured both those who gave essential emotional care and those who stood ready to protect their communities that the ICEJ stands with them and, together with our friends worldwide, wanted to encourage them that they are not alone. “Our many friends worldwide watched with concern, prayed for you, held rallies on your behalf and gave generously for bomb shelters, firefighting equipment and other trauma or crisis-related support,” Nicole said. “Your courage, depth of conviction, resilience, selflessness and sacrificial dedication are an inspiration to all of us!”

Nicole’s message and the gift packages she brought touched all the Israelis deeply.

Thank you for your support, which enables the Christian Embassy not only to meet the needs of vulnerable towns and villages living near the Gaza border, but also to care for those who worked tirelessly behind scenes to help their communities endure and recover from this latest trauma. Your giving is very much appreciated!


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