Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Jewish Agency for Israel
Kids from the Gaza border at a camp run by The Jewish Agency's Fund for the Victims of Terror, August 2021.

This summer, more than 100 children aged 6-16 from southern Israel are attending a unique camp run by The Jewish Agency for Israel’s Fund for Victims of Terror which helps alleviate the severe trauma and anxiety that they have faced over the years.

The children and their families, who have suffered physical or mental harm as a result of rocket fire or kite-born arson devices emanating from the Gaza Strip, are officially recognized by the Israeli government as victims of terrorism. They come from the cities of Sderot, Ashkelon, Be’er Sheva, and Rahat.

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The camp is supported by generous donations from global Jewry — including from The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), Keren Hayesod, the Genesis Philanthropy Group, and donors from around the Jewish world — and in cooperation with the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council. Earlier this summer, the camp was visited by Genesis Philanthropy Group CEO Marina Yudborovsky and The Jewish Agency’s Director General and CEO Amira Ahronoviz.

Throughout the year, the Fund for Victims of Terror seeks to lighten victims’ emotional and material toll in the wake of a crisis by offering financial aid to individuals and families in dire circumstances. Within 48 hours of an event, a Jewish Agency representative visits the victims and provides emergency aid of more than $1,000. Additionally, through grants and ongoing services totaling up to $6,300, this essential fund covers the months to come.

“Genesis Philanthropy Group considers supporting the Jewish communities under threat, in Israel and beyond, as a natural extension of our mission,” said Genesis Philanthropy Group CEO Marina Yudborovsky. “We are proud to help the efforts of The Jewish Agency to provide relief to children who had been targeted by terrorism”.

During the annual summer camp session, children spend time in the pool and visit attractions such as the safari park and the Superland amusement park, following coronavirus guidelines. They take part in an activity run by the NATAL Association for Youth, thanks to the support of the Max and Marian Charitable Foundation, which focuses on relieving tension through playback theater, a form of improvisational theater in which participants tell stories from their lives and watch them perform on the spot. The children also benefit from therapeutic activity with animals at the Resilience Center in Sderot.

“For these children who face a complex reality, including many who suffer from post-traumatic stress, the camp is designed to facilitate their mental coping mechanisms and to strengthen their resilience,” said Ayelet Nahmias Verbin, former MK and Chair of The Jewish Agency’s Fund for Victims of Terror. “The support of world Jewry, through the Fund for Victims of Terror, reminds the residents of Israeli communities near Gaza that they are not alone.”

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