by Yosef Ben Tzion (Joel Busner) – October 2001
Until the current intifada began last year, the B’Ahavat Yisrael Organization often traveled deep into the Shomron area to distribute food, clothing, and other essentials to needy families in isolated communities. At our peak we were able to help out about twice per month. The latest uprising changed all that.
We felt compelled to visit with many more injured soldiers, terror victims, and their families. The additional visits always with gifts, required more funds and more volunteers and was an added burden for our already over burdened staff. Of course, our other regular activities in the center of Israel had to go on as our head office is located in Ra’anana. In addition, it has become more and more dangerous to travel to the Shomron communities especially in light of the fact that none of our people here in the center of Israel possess weapons permits.
We were forced to cut back on our services to these embattled communities. Instead of regularly sending aid, we were forced to load up with larger packages for holidays only. Of course it helped, but it is no way enough. Without a large enough budget to purchase a bulletproof vehicle we sought out other ways to help. Persistence has paid off! From this point we have trustworthy volunteers who live in these very same communities. All of them have weapons permits and they know how to navigate with the least amount of risk. Nothing is perfect and obviously these men and women demonstrate tremendous self–sacrifice and courage. They are prepared to come to our head office in Ra’anana twice per month and pick up all supplies which we prepare for the Shomron needy families. They will then immediately head off to the respective communities and deliver to each family, house by house. No middle people, no mistakes.
Dear fellow Jew,
We’re not dealing with ideology alone here. We’re dealing with a humanitarian problem as well. While I personally believe that all of Eretz Yisrael belongs to the Jewish People and the Jewish People only, and while we are working at aliya counseling with the hope and dream of bringing all of our brothers and sisters home, this issue goes even beyond that. Many of these families have lost jobs because the bus services are so poor and car travel has become a game of Russian Roulette. In addition, many of these families have mortgages and no one, not the banks, and not the government of Israel who built these communities, has offered them any alternative housing arrangements or release from their mortgage obligations. With no existing rental market in these communities, these families are basically stranded. While much money has been raised for much–needed defense and protective equipment, none of it will be necessary for the families who have nothing to eat!