Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Israelis share firsthand accounts of life on the Gaza border


August 24, 2018

Fire in Southern Israel near Ofakim, about 20 kilometers west of Be'er Sheva.

On Sunday, Aug. 26, Jewish National Fund and The Roth Family JCC will host a town hall meeting about the Gaza border crisis. JNF is bringing three residents of Gaza border communities to Florida, to share their personal stories of living under attack, with hundreds of incendiary kites, balloons, and rockets steadily raining down on them. While there will not be a live event in Orlando, JNF will be live-streaming the event from Miami at The Roth Family JCC, 851 N. Maitland Ave., from 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Attendees will hear about the needs in their communities and the issues they face on the ground: their experiences running to bomb shelters and sleeping in safe rooms, their fears of a ruined economy, and their challenges dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder -both their children's as well as their own.

The Israeli speakers are:

• Michal Uziyahu, the assistant to the mayor of the Eshkol Regional Council, which shares some 65 kilometers of border with Gaza. She has witnessed firsthand the effects of trauma stemming from rocket fire and terrorism.

• Sarit Khanoukaev, a 21-year old young professional who was born and raised in Sderot, less than a mile from the Gaza border. Today, she works in her hometown for counseling at risk-youth as well as young children impacted by PTSD.

• Yedidya Harush, a representative from the Halutza communities and the entire Gaza Envelope region. Harush was born and raised in the community of Atzmona in Gush Katif and his family relocated to Halutza after Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005. He served in one of Israel's elite military units, the 890th Paratroopers Brigade.

This barrage of terror has destroyed nearly 10,000 acres of agricultural land and forests in Israel that people rely on as their main source of income and economic development for the region. Families and their children have been confined to bomb shelters, and PTSD is impacting residents throughout the region.

"Unfortunately, as the danger increased over the last 3.5 months, the Gaza Envelope residents watched their region become largely reduced to an ecological disaster area. They are running to bomb shelters and safe rooms as rocket alerts blare and it's evident that the work of our Task Force is more important than ever," said Betsy Fischer, chair of the Gaza Envelope Task Force. "We are thrilled that Jewish National Fund-USA is taking on the bold move to bring residents from the region who will cross the country and share their stories about what life on the border with Gaza is like during this most difficult time."

Please note that for security purposes, government-issued photo identification will be required for entry. All bags are subject to search and absolutely no backpacks or large bags will be allowed.


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