After many attempts at a cease-fire, the current situation in Israel does not appear to be ending soon. Four Israelis were reported killed and several more injured today after a mortar round landed near a community outside Gaza. At the same time, diplomatic efforts for a cease-fire continue. Many of us have been glued to the news, following reports and hoping for a glimmer of optimism in the face of so much angst and anxiety.

Below is information about how the current situation is affecting Ashkelon, our sister city in Israel, and how you can take action

IMPACT ON ASHKELON

Ashkelon residents are feeling the effect of the current situation. They are mobilizing hundreds of volunteers to pay for food for needy families and to distribute supplies for children in the shelters. Their economy is down 50 percent, which affects both large- and small-scale businesses. In order to limit their time out of the house, most Ashkelon residents only shop for essential items, thus many businesses have temporarily closed or have chosen to open for limited hours. Thousands of Israelis have been called up for reserve service, further slowing down the economy, and the decline in foreign travel decreased the tourism industry 40 percent from last summer.

We're committed to supporting local business in Ashkelon. Please consider donating funds to purchase shelter supplies and meals for families from small businesses in Ashkelon, to dually support populations under fire and the local business in our sister city. Also, visit the Baltimore-Ashkelon Partnership Facebook page to see up-to-date photos of the actions taken to protect the people on the ground. 

With 5,863 miles between us and our Israeli friends, relatives and colleagues, the question always remains:what else can we do?

  • Pick up a Baltimore Stands With Israel bracelet and post photos wearing your bracelet to social media with the hashtag #BaltimoreStandsWithIsrael.
  • Donate school supplies, stuffed animals and games for children in Ashkelon bomb shelters or white t-shirts, socks and travel-sized toiletries for the brave IDF soldiers. Drop off bins are available in the lobbies of the JCCs. 
  • Thank you for participating in #BlueFriday. Please continue to wear blue each Friday and post photos using this sign and the hashtag #BaltimoreStandsWithIsrael to show support for our friends in Israel. 
  • Send a personal card to the children in Ashkelon by emailing Amalia Phillips at the Macks Center for Jewish Education.
  • Submit a 250-word blog entry, along with a photo, about why you stand with Israel. Blog entries will be posted each Friday. 
     
GIVE

In order to target the most critical and timely needs, your donations - large or small - to our Israel Emergency Relief Campaign are being distributed as follows:
  • Mobilization of hundreds of volunteers in Ashkelon to supply the private and public bomb shelters with food, arts & crafts activities for children and essential supplies.
  • Immediate relief for 45,000 children who are in the line of fire to escape to summer camps, youth villages or enrichment classes.
  • Additional direct services include the hiring of additional case workers and delivering food and medicines for Israel's most vulnerable.
  • Expanded trauma support to more than 15,000 civilians and first responders through expanded hotlines.

STAY INFORMED
Thank you for all you have done to show your support and solidarity, and all you will do. 
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