Rockets on Ashdod
Photo: Avi Rokach
South African Jews to host traumatized Israeli youth
Looking for a way to support Israel following Pillar of Defense, Jewish activist launches her own 'operation' - to provide respite for Israeli children living under rocket threat
Operation Shalom Bayit is a campaign initiated by pro-Israeli activist Brenda Stern from Johannesburg, South Africa. The campaign aims to bring traumatized Israeli youth from southern Israel to Jewish, South African summer camps in December of this year.


Some 20 teens from Sderot, Ashdod, Ashkelon and Netivot will travel to South Africa and enjoy a relaxing time following years of stress and anxiety caused by constant rocket attacks on southern Israel.


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Throughout Operation Pillar of Defense, Brenda was in daily contact with her relatives in Ashdod. She witnessed the routine trauma inflicted on them and decided to take action and aid teen terror victims.


She recruited the Israeli Embassy, the local Magen David Adom, the Jewish Agency and Jewish youth movements including, Bnei Akiva, Habonim Dror and Netzer, to assist in the initiative.


According to Brenda's plan, the Israeli teens will arrive at the various summer camps alongside Jewish youth from around the world and be hosted by the local community.


They will also be able to share their personal, first-hand experiences of living under the threat of rocket attacks.


Stern said it was very important that the Israeli teens be able to rest and recuperate after what they have been through, adding that it is just as important to strengthen the ties between Israeli and South African kids.


Stern explained that many of the Jewish teens she knows are unaware of the suffering endured by Israeli youth. Therefore, she said, it is very important that local Jewish youths meet with Israelis and hear about their hardships under rocket attacks, "so that this doesn't remain yet another media report or statistic of how many rockets fell."


Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs was quick to embrace the Shalom Bayit campaign and said it holds a humanitarian and educational value and helps promote Israeli public relations.



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