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   UJC Talking Points

The Cease-Fire and Operation Cast Lead

  • Now that Israel has declared a cease-fire in Operation Cast Lead and left Gaza, we remain hopeful that peace and quiet can finally return to Southern Israel and that the missile attacks stop.
  • Israel may have achieved its defensive military aims, but the humanitarian needs arising from years of missile attacks on Southern Israel continue unabated.
  • Even if the missiles stop, their impact will be felt for some time to come -- the psychological and emotional toll on people remains deep and they will need our help. 
  • More than 10,000 missiles have struck Southern Israel in the past eight years, creating deep widespread emotional, psychological and economic wounds among nearly 1 million Israelis that require our attention.
  • Local Israelis talk of the “emotional shrapnel” thousands of missiles have inflicted.
  • Our UJC/Federation system has responded quickly and dependably to these needs, launching the Israel Solidarity Drive after Israel began Operation Cast Lead. 
  • The Israel Solidarity Drive was intended to meet $10 million in urgent humanitarian needs in Southern Israel. Our UJC/Federation system has so far raised more than $6 million to meet these critical needs, but our job is not yet done.
  • Our work in Southern Israel is conducted through programs of UJC's main overseas partners: the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Israel Trauma Coalition and the Ethiopian National Project.
  • Our work includes taking up to 23,000 young people out of the missile zone for day-long respite trips to parks, zoos and other places where they can simply have fun without fear of being hit by a missile. We’re providing basic care packages and children’s games for bomb shelters. We’re offering creative therapy programs to immigrants in absorption centers. We’re providing extra case managers to help care for 25,000 elderly and disabled residents. We’re providing trauma relief to children through projects like the “Havens of Calm” where students are encouraged to discuss their fears. We’re coordinating volunteer networks and helping municipal emergency workers with planning for faster response efforts and providing them critical emotional support. We’re also supporting small businesses suffering in a weakened local economy.
  • Many of the programs we're funding are already in place, thanks to our Annual Campaign. Now we're helping them meet the deepening humanitarian needs through the Israel Solidarity Drive.
  • You can learn more at, under “Background Materials.”

Rallies Across North America:

  • Scores of federations across North America staged rallies demonstrating their solidarity with the people of Israel during the Gaza situation. The rallies, part of the Israel Solidarity Drive, drew tens of thousands of people across the continent.
  • Rallies under the auspices of UJC/Federation and other groups, have included local federation and political leaders from the United States, Canada and Israel. Our community has invited [YOUR SPEAKERS NAME HERE].

Missions and Advocacy:

  • Our UJC/Federation system is sending missions to Southern Israel, so that many of us can get a first-hand look at how our work is meeting these critical needs. The missions have included federation professional and volunteer leaders and younger, next-generation donors. Other missions may be undertaken as necessary.
  • These missions are crucial to help people back home understand the stories of nearly 1 million Israelis who have lived under missile fire for eight years. Their story often goes under-reported in the mainstream media, and it remains critical that we advocate for our brothers and sisters in Israel and tell the important story of how we’re meeting these critical humanitarian needs.






Credits, from top: Motti Buganim, who has lived his entire life in Sderot, stands outside his house on 12/29, which was hit by a Kassam. He and his wife and child took cover in a sheltered room in the house when the rocket hit. Photo courtesy JAFI. Israeli kids huddle in their family bomb shelter in Ashkelon during a 'red alert' as the missile-warning siren sounds on Jan. 1, 2009. Credit: JAFI. Funeral for Netivot's Beber Vaknin, killed by a missile from Gaza.  Photo by AP/Ariel Schalit. An Israeli tank near the Gaza border, as warplanes strike Hamas targets. Photo by Brian Hendler/JTA. An Israeli home in Netivot, damaged by a missile from Gaza on 12/28. Photo courtesy JAFI. Israelis comfort each other after a Palestinian missile hits their house in Tkuma on Dec. 24. Photo by AP/Yehuda Lahiani. Participants at Jan. 7, 2009 Israel Solidarity rally in Washington. Credit: Betty Adler Photography, 2009, for The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington