While during the first days of the fighting along Israel's border it seemed as though things were under control, as time passed it became apparent that the Home Front was perhaps strong, but not entirely prepared. Welfare and aid organizations were the first to try and mitigate the quickly growing void of chaos.
Their operations cost money. A lot of money. A Ynet survey of the organizations that rushed to assist Israel's north revealed that, in the past month, efforts to help soldiers and civilians cost some NIS 900 million. We repeat: NIS 900,000,000, the equivalent of approximately USD 200 million or 161 million euros.
The most significant contributor of aid was the UJC (United Jewish Communities), based in the US, which donated, as of now, some USD 150 million. Members declare that they intend to increase that sum to USD 1 billion.
In addition to the astronomical sums donated by diaspora Jews, local millionaires (such as Arkadi Guidemak and the often-censured Sheri Arrison), Israel businesses and businessmen, private donors and thousands of Israeli hi-tech companies opened their hearts and their wallets.
None of those surveyed would commit to an exact sum extended by Israel's industrial and business sector, but it is estimated that to be some NIS 10 to 15 million. The precise sum is difficult to calculate due to the large number of donations, ranging from thousands of shekels used to purchase socks and undergarments for IDF soldiers to hundreds of thousands used to purchase food for hungry residents of the north.
The table below provides an illustration of the range and contributions of these various donors and demonstrates the different initiatives undertaken to assuage the drastic situation in the rocket-barraged north this past month.
|United Jewish Communities||USD 150 million (NIS 675 million)||Financing operations of the Jewish Agency and Joint Israel||Tens of thousands of northern children in summer camps and in shelters|
|Jewish Agency||USD 50 million
(NIS 225 million)
|Evacuation of children from the north to summer camps in central Israel||Some 26,000 children evacuated|
|Arkadi Guidemak||USD 15
(NIS 67.5 million)
|Funding tent city in Nitzanim||Thousands of families from northern communities|
|JDC||USD 13 million
(NIS 58.5 million)
|Encouragement operation for northern families and elderly, fun days for children, food distribution, games||60,000 northern residents, including 5,000 children and tens of thousands in shelters|
|Forum of the friendship fund, the Secta-Rashi fund and fundraising committees in the UK, Canada, Detroit, San Francisco||USD 9
(NIS 40.5 million)
|Assistance to local authorities, fire crews, families sustaining damages||Residents of northern communities|
|Israel Frienship Fund||USD 6.5 million
(NIS 30 million)
|Food distrbution and food stamps. Assitance in welfare agencies. Funding vacation for northern residents||Tens of thousands of residents in 32 communities and districts|
|Friends of the IDF||USD 5 million
(NIS 22.5 million)
|Supply of care packages, under-garments, electronic equipment. Set up of welfare offices in the field||IDF forces in the north and south, and their families|
|IDB group||NIS 18 million||Funding for delivery of food packages, sending kids to camp, hosting northern families in hotels, transportation, Cellcom cellular phone discount||Tens of thousands of northern families and soldiers|
|Israel Together||NIS 13 million||Funding of hotel fees, camps, and medicine. Distribution of first aid kits, baby packages and meals. Hosting elderly. Supplying shelters and soldiers||Tens of thousands of children, soldiers, and other northern residents|
|Bank HaPoalim||NIS 10 million||Distribution of supplies and games to shelters, donation of electrical equipment and food. Donating supplies to soldiers||Tens of thousands of civilians and soldiers|
|Community Centers||NIS 5.5. million||Fun days for children and teens, camps in Israel, activities in shelters, assistance to the handicapepd||Tens of thousands of children and teens from the north and some 4,000 handicapped|
|WIZO||NIS 3 million||Hosting children and families, help for the elderly, supply distribution||1,200 children from the north and their families|
|Bank Leumi||NIS 2 million||Donations to hospitals, hosting families from Nahariya, fun days for children, distribution of meals, activities in shelters||Thousands of northern residents|
*Note: the information was supplied solely by the organizations