Ariela Zoref and her father
Ariella Zoref and her father
Ariela Zoref and her father

'No money for medicine or heating'

Some Israelis instead of selebrating Hannukah resort to selling their household goods to survive; search for furniture on the streets, give up medication and cut off heat in winter; NGOs hand out blankets and winter supplies for the elderly, Holocaust survivors and those in need

Ynet |
Updated: 12.25.19 , 16:17
Ariela Zoref a 54-year-old single mom, lives with Yoel, her aging father who is a Holocaust survivor, along with her 12-year-old daughter.
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  • Until recently, Zoref was a graphic designer. But now she is unable to work after suffering a debilitating stroke that paralyzed her right arm, leaving her family to exist on a measly disability allowance.
    Ariela Zoref and her father Ariela Zoref and her father
    Ariela Zoref and her father
    "I have no money for medications or heating for my daughter," she says.
    "When dad could still walk around, we would look in the streets for all kinds of things we could use," adds Zoref, describing the harsh reality of her life in which she must rely on donations of others to survive and feed her family.
    She is now forced to sell her household appliances and furniture to make ends meet.
    "My dream is for her to go to university," says Zoref of her young daughter. "Or at least for her to have a play day, feel like we're normal."
    She admits that one of her hardest moments was when she considered prostitution just to survive.
    A report published earlier this month by the food bank NGO Latet, states that about 530,000 families, among them 1,007,000 children in Israel, live in poverty.
    Jenny Rozenstien Jenny Rozenstien
    Jenny Rosenstein
    Jenny Rosenstein, an 84-year-old Holocaust survivor, spoke of the ongoing medical and psychological treatment she requires in order to battle the traumas of her past.
    She describes how the Nazis captured her family during the Holocaust and executed her brother in front of her with an ax, burning her face with cigarettes and threatening to set vicious dogs on her and the others captured along with her.
    "The Jews who were murdered were fed to the dogs," she says. "I'm already so hurt, why do I need to suffer more? People don't care, the government doesn’t care, nobody cares that I and others are going through such horrible ordeals."
    Jenny gives public speaking events and paints as part of her rehabilitation.
    Menachem, a 78-year-old from southern Israel, is in no better state.
    "My kids won't return my calls. I almost lost my mind after the wars, not too much but I'm still shell shocked," he says. "I guess they just couldn't handle that. I don't blame them, but I do miss them."
    "At least I have some organizations helping me, but I'm not complaining," he says.
    "I have a heater that works on and off. I hope they bring me a new one and some blankets. They're nice people and I have a short conversation with them when they do come. I'm sure more people like me need help, even a little."
    The Chasdei Naomi organization supports over 10,000 families on a regular basis and much more on the basis of need.
    They have up to 20,000 volunteers, operating at over 40 locations around Israel.
    The organization has an ongoing public funding campaign in order to acquire an emergency winter kit made up of a radiator, blankets, scarfs, mittens and ear warmers.
    "We know many are frustrated over the ongoing election cycles but let us refrain from pointing fingers and focus on helping others," says a representative of the organization.
    "If you cannot donate, but do have spare winter clothes and such, you could donate to them at Bar Yohai St 10, Bnei Brak. If you know anyone who is cold during the winter and incapable of taking care of him or herself, please help them."
    You can donate to Chasdei Naomi here or by calling +972-3-6-777-777
    First published: 14:41 , 12.25.19
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