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With their country under fire, Israelis who can’t fight find other ways to help

MODIIN, Israel (JTA) — When Israel’s national emergency service, Magen David Adom, opened a mobile blood donation site in the central Israeli city of Modiin on Tuesday to address the needs of those injured by Hamas’ attacks, the plan was to run a nine-hour emergency blood drive.

But the site was so overwhelmed when over 650 volunteers showed up at the opening that within an hour staffers said they had reached their blood-collecting capacity for the day and urged donors to stop coming.

Not far away, at a shopping center in Maccabim, volunteers collecting supplies for soldiers including soap, shampoo, deodorant, canned tuna, energy bars, underwear, socks, toothbrushes, female hygiene products and toilet paper were bustling with urgency.

Community members dropped off items they’d brought from home or stores, teenagers sorted them, and volunteers loaded them onto trucks and delivered them to soldiers in southern Israel. After a busy Monday, organizers sent out word on Tuesday that volunteers should stop coming to work at the site because there were too many – though they still needed supplies.

Four days after Hamas launched a brutal attack against Israelis with the murders of hundreds of civilians, soldiers and police in areas near the Gaza Strip and heavy rocket bombardments aimed at southern and central Israel, most Israelis appear to be falling into one of two groups: those mobilizing to fight and those trying to support them and the victims.

“I can’t sit and work. I’m a person who feels I need to do something. I can’t watch from the sidelines,” said Assaf Tzur-El, a Modiin resident who collected over $1,000 from friends, work colleagues and members of his synagogue to buy supplies for soldiers. “In this case I’m not doing reserve duty; I can’t for health reasons. There’s not a lot I can do there, so I do what I can.”

His effort began Sunday at the behest of his daughter, Yael Tzur-El, 22, who kicked into gear after reading posts on social media about the soldiers’ needs. She got two local falafel places to donate 80 meals, filled the trunk of her father’s car with food, drinks and salty snacks, and drove to an army gathering point near Rehovot to distribute the food to soldiers waiting to go down south. They handed off the food to security at the gate and within minutes saw soldiers exiting in cars headed southward chomping down on the food they’d brought.

Hundreds of Israelis donate blood in Jerusalem, Oct. 9, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

The Israeli volunteer efforts span the gamut.

Social workers are showing up at the Dead Sea hotels where evacuees of the Israeli kibbutzim and towns that were attacked are recovering. Residents of central Israel are opening up their homes to fellow citizens who have fled affected areas in the South and towns along Israel’s northern border, near Lebanon, that are now considered at risk of terrorist infiltration.

“I want to invite anyone who needs a place to be my guest,” Noga Brenner Samia, a resident of Telmond, a small town not far from Netanya, said in a video she shared on social media. “I know maybe it’s hard to come into a stranger’s home. But I want to say that none of us are strangers. Nobody today is a stranger. We all are friends; we just haven’t met yet. So whoever needs a place to stay, I have a quiet, pleasant house. I’ve got a lot of available rooms because the kids are in the army or national service.”

Israeli chef Eyal Shani prepared a complimentary lunch on Monday at his Tel Aviv restaurant HaSalon for residents of southern Israel who had been evacuated to a hotel in the city, and the restaurant also prepared hundreds of bagged meals to be sent to soldiers. “With much love and hope for better days,” read a note attached to each bag.

“We wanted to do good for the residents of the South,” said Netanel Rosenberg, a chef who works at the restaurant. “Families came, older people – about a hundred in all. It put a smile on their face.”

A group of Hasidic Orthodox Jews from the desert town of Arad, near Masada, surprised soldiers on a nearby military base with a delivery of dozens of pizza pies. Volunteers launched crowdsourced fundraising efforts for large orders of mobile phone batteries and chargers for soldiers stuck on the front lines. Parents with sons and daughters in the army fielded messages from their children about the need for outdoor mattresses, wearable flashlights and sleeping bag covers to keep their bedding dry from rain. A group calling itself Grilling for the IDF spent a day barbecuing and then delivering the food to soldiers.

“We literally just heard from the boys now that the food that we donated yesterday they got now and they’re so, so happy,” said Noa-Chen Anders, a 15-year old from Modiin who, along with her 14-year-old sister, Miya, organized a food delivery on Monday of six cars full of food to soldiers. “They just put it all on the table and many of them ate for the first time since Friday.”

The efforts are not limited to Israelis. American Jews, too, are mobilizing. Donors in Los Angeles organized a van full of bulletproof vests to be delivered to LAX so they could be loaded on an El Al plane and delivered to Israel. (The Israeli Defense Forces says the army has no shortage of protective equipment but that it takes time to get everything in place; however, soldiers on the ground are complaining of substandard or scanty equipment).

Over 300,000 Israeli reservists have been called up for duty so far.

Because of the logistics involved, they don’t all have beds to sleep in or enough satisfying meals or hygiene supplies. In an army where most soldiers go home every couple of weeks or so, most military bases are not equipped with laundry facilities. And many soldiers left home with little more than the clothes on their back on Saturday in their rush to answer the call of duty while Hamas’ attacks were in full force.

This is the need volunteers are trying to address — so much so, in fact, that supermarkets are running low on items in high demand by soldiers because donors are buying them up in large quantities.

Tzur-El said the biggest sacrifice he has made so far was standing in the supermarket checkout line at Rami Levy, a national discount chain, for over an hour and a half. He might have complained, but then he saw a friend in front of him with a cart and a half piled high with items because he had opened up his home to a family displaced by the war and needed more food.

“There are people doing far more than me,” he said.


The post With their country under fire, Israelis who can’t fight find other ways to help appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Israeli Official: ‘Important Operation’ in Yemen Sends Strong Message to Shiite Axis

Drones are seen at a site at an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on April 20, 2023. Photo: Iranian Army/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS

i24 NewsA senior Israeli security official spoke to i24NEWS on Saturday on condition of the retaliatory strike carried out by the Israel Air Force against the Houthi jihadists in Yemen.

“This is an important operation which signals that there’s room for further escalation, and sends a very strong message to the entire Shiite axis.”

“We understood there is a high probability of counter attacks, but if we do not respond, the meaning is even worse. Israel has updated the US prior to the operation.”

The strike on Hodeida came after long-range Iranian-made drone hit a building in central Tel Aviv, killing one man and wounded several others.

The post Israeli Official: ‘Important Operation’ in Yemen Sends Strong Message to Shiite Axis first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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IDF Confirms Striking ‘Terrorist Houthi Regime’ in Yemen’s Hodeida

Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi addresses followers via a video link at the al-Shaab Mosque, formerly al-Saleh Mosque, in Sanaa, Yemen, Feb. 6, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

i24 NewsThe Israeli military on Saturday confirmed striking a port in Yemen controlled by the Houthi jihadists, a day after the Iranian proxy group perpetrated a deadly drone attack on Tel Aviv.

“A short while ago, IDF fighter jets struck military targets of the Houthi terrorist regime in the area of the Al Hudaydah Port in Yemen in response to the hundreds of attacks carried out against the State of Israel in recent months.”

After Houthi drone attack on Tel Aviv, reports and footage out of Yemen of air strikes hitting Hodeida

— Video used in accordance with clause 27A of Israeli copyright law pic.twitter.com/d2uE16ZzQ1

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

Yoav Gallant, the defense minister, issued a statement saying “The fire that is currently burning in Hodeidah, is seen across the Middle East and the significance is clear. The Houthis attacked us over 200 times. The first time that they harmed an Israeli citizen, we struck them. And we will do this in any place where it may be required.”

“The blood of Israeli citizens has a price,” Gallant added. “This has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen, and in other places – if they will dare to attack us, the result will be identical.”

Gallant: ‘The fire currently burning in Hodeida is seen across the region and the significance is clear… The blood of Israeli citizens has a price, as has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen and in other places – if they dare attack us, the result will be identical.’ pic.twitter.com/DmHjwfHtPV

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

The post IDF Confirms Striking ‘Terrorist Houthi Regime’ in Yemen’s Hodeida first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan leaves after attending a military parade to mark the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus in response to a short-lived Greek-inspired coup, in the Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, in the divided city of Nicosia, Cyprus July 20, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

Greek Cypriots mourned and Turkish Cypriots rejoiced on Saturday, the 50th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of part of the island after a brief Greek inspired coup, with the chances of reconciliation as elusive as ever.

The ethnically split island is a persistent source of tension between Greece and Turkey, which are both partners in NATO but are at odds over numerous issues.

Their differences were laid bare on Saturday, with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attending a celebratory military parade in north Nicosia to mark the day in 1974 when Turkish forces launched an offensive that they call a “peace operation.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was due later on Saturday to attend an event in the south of the Nicosia to commemorate what Greeks commonly refer to as the “barbaric Turkish invasion.” Air raid sirens sounded across the area at dawn.

Mitsotakis posted an image of a blood-stained map of Cyprus on his LinkedIn page with the words “Half a century since the national tragedy of Cyprus.”

There was jubilation in the north.

“The Cyprus Peace Operation saved Turkish Cypriots from cruelty and brought them to freedom,” Erdogan told crowds who gathered to watch the parade despite stifling midday heat, criticizing the south for having a “spoiled mentality” and seeing itself as the sole ruler of Cyprus.

Peace talks are stalled at two seemingly irreconcilable concepts – Greek Cypriots want reunification as a federation. Turkish Cypriots want a two-state settlement.

Erdogan left open a window to dialogue although he said a federal solution, advocated by Greek Cypriots and backed by most in the international community, was “not possible.”

“We are ready for negotiations, to meet, and to establish long-term peace and resolution in Cyprus,” he said.

Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960, but a shared administration between Greek and Turkish Cypriots quickly fell apart in violence that saw Turkish Cypriots withdraw into enclaves and led to the dispatch of a U.N. peacekeeping force.

The crisis left Greek Cypriots running the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union since 2004 with the potential to derail Turkey’s own decades-long aspirations of joining the bloc.

It also complicates any attempts to unlock energy potential in the eastern Mediterranean because of overlapping claims. The region has seen major discoveries of hydrocarbons in recent years.

REMEMBERING THE DEAD

Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, whose office represents the Greek Cypriot community in the reunification dialogue, said the anniversary was a somber occasion for reflection and for remembering the dead.

“Our mission is liberation, reunification and solving the Cyprus problem,” he said. “If we really want to send a message on this tragic anniversary … it is to do anything possible to reunite Cyprus.”

Turkey, he said, continued to be responsible for violating human rights and international law over Cyprus.

Across the south, church services were held to remember the more than 3,000 people who died in the Turkish invasion.

“It was a betrayal of Cyprus and so many kids were lost. It wasn’t just my son, it was many,” said Loukas Alexandrou, 90, as he tended the grave of his son at a military cemetery.

In Turkey, state television focused on violence against Turkish Cypriots prior to the invasion, particularly on bloodshed in 1963-64 and in 1967.

Turkey’s invasion took more than a third of the island and expelled more than 160,000 Greek Cypriots to the south.

Reunification talks collapsed in 2017 and have been at a stalemate since. Northern Cyprus is a breakaway state recognized only by Turkey, and its Turkish Cypriot leadership wants international recognition.

The post One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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