Head down to the beach on a windy day. You are likely to see people joyously flying their colorful kites high into the air. Next weekend, head to Mission Bay or a local park. Absorb the celebration of some young child, the party marked by balloons of the rainbow. Kites and balloons conjure up emotions of warmth, family time, and pure, innocent recreation.
In our partner region, Sha’ar HaNegev, the sight of kites and balloons now triggers very different emotions. Rather than reacting with a smile, these seemingly innocuous airborne “toys” generate fear. The communities across the Gaza border are now subjected to almost daily attacks of hundreds of balloons and kites to which terrorists have attached incendiary devices, including IED’s (improvised explosive devices). These inexpensive and readily available items are causing psychological and physical damage to the same extent as any missile launched at Israel’s cities and kibbutzim.
We have received heartbreaking news from our partners in Sha’ar HaNegev about the continuing toll these attacks have on its residents, particularly the young. Trauma is not limited to rockets. The fires that these weapons – make no mistake, they are weapons – cause, spark fear in people. The threat of being victimized by a fire is real. The loss of livelihood, crops, and buildings is real. Thousands of acres of agricultural land have burned as a result of these indefensible acts. They certainly do nothing to advance the cause of peace.
Our fellow Jews who bravely defend their rights to live in the region (this land is NOT disputed) are indiscriminately attacked. They need our help. They need support to treat the trauma suffered from these daily assaults. They need funds to help rebuild their lives where property and crops have been decimated and need rehabilitation.
Federation is here in these trying times. That’s what Jews do for one another. Please help us support our partners in Sha’ar HaNegev by contributing to the emergency fund for their benefit.
Let us hope that, one day, Israelis and Palestinians celebrate peace with kites stretching to the heavens and balloons aplenty.