Chicago leaders on solidarity mission experience Israel's resolve

Solidarity Mission water park

Kids on respite with Chicago's David T. Brown (back row, center in red shirt) and JUF Government Affairs Committee Chairman Andy Hochberg (back row, right, in hat) and lay leaders from other federations. On the left is JAFI CEO Alan Hoffman.

The second JFNA Solidarity Mission to Israel, chaired by JUF Chairman of the Board David T. Brown, has been touring the country. The mission visited children from Kiryat Gat and other towns in the south on respite activity funded by JUF and other federations.  While visiting this water park outside Tel Aviv, the siren went off and the mission, together with a thousand children, had to lie down on the ground with hands over their heads.

The mission then visited the Beersheba absorption center where they were joined by Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel. They met with new immigrants including a family that arrived yesterday from Odessa in the Ukraine. They told participants how they spent the morning at the Soroka Hospital in the city visiting IDF soldiers wounded in Operation Protective Edge.

They explained that although new in Israel, they felt compelled to visit wounded soldiers and  support them, bringing them candy and flowers. They said, "we came here with open eyes. We knew the risks but we are not afraid because we trust the IDF." The father, Sergey, said that his 5-year-old daughter keeps telling him "Israel is big and strong, we will win."

Over 1,500 new immigrants arrived in Israel since Operation Protective Edge began two weeks ago.

Beersheba Mayor Ruvik Danilovich expressed his thanks for the support shown by the federations. "Am Israel Chai, we are determined to stay and we are determined to win," he said. He told the mission about the importance of making sure that Hamas loses the ability to inflict more terror attacks on Israel in the south. Also at the meeting were students from Beersheba's Ben Gurion University who told the solidarity mission about their work with the local community and student life in time of sirens.

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