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Righteous Among the Nations During the Coronavirus Crisis
Makor Rishon (March 22, 2020)

For residents of Amigour’s Sheltered Housing, which primarily serves Holocaust survivors, did not have the resources to cope with the COVID-19 crisis and the world came together to help

Translated version. Original article was written by Zvika Klein and appeared in Hebrew in Makor Rishon (March 22, 2020).

Similar to many institutions, even Amigour was facing a lack of disinfectant and protective materials. Amigour provides sheltered housing to thousands of Holocaust survivors, immigrants from the former Soviet Union and those that rely solely on social security benefits, and Erez Shani, Vice President of Amigour, asked for help from Keren Hayesod, which is the leader in global fundraising for projects assisting the people of Israel. “We were facing a situation where we lacked the necessary sanitation materials like they have in hospitals for our staff, residents and visitors to our homes.” Shani further explained that they did not have the budget for the necessary materials and requested further assistance.

Keren Hayesod contacted their global campaigns and received a particularly positive response from two European communities: donors of the Jewish communities in Sweden and Christian supporters of Israel in Munich that decided to raise funds after hearing the story of these elderly residents. The donors took upon themselves to provide sanitation materials, Alco gel, masks and gloves. The cost of providing sanitation materials is $34,000 a month, more than $100,000 overall.

Keren Hayesod believes in the importance of helping. “At this time, there is no going in or out of these homes and it is forbidden to visit the elderly. Therefore, the materials supplied are even more important. Now, we can be more sure that the staff and residents are being protected from the novel coronavirus.” Keren Hayesod stresses the importance of being extra sensitive in regards to Amigour. “We are talking about a vulnerable population, and in addition, there are 18 residents in isolation at Amigour homes. The materials are definitely important to them.”

This is not the first donation from the Swedish community to Amigour. Over the last decade, the campaign has raised funds for refurbishments of the Amigour building in Beer Sheva and provided assistance for a new building being built on Tel Aviv’s Derech HaShalom.

Keren Hayesod is reviewing the needs of the people of Israel in lights of the current coronavirus crisis and is helping to lead on other projects that are expected to be donated by Jewish communities worldwide. “We are offering our donors different opportunities for donating as the situation develops,” Keren Hayesod said. “There are already 300 new immigrants that recently arrived in Israel and are now in isolation. This is a challenge facing the Jewish Agency, who we will continue to support in this work.”

Sam Grundwerg, World Chairman of Keren Hayesod: “Our dedicated activists around the world have been supporting Keren Hayesod and Israel for a century, in the daily routine of life here and when we face emergency situations. We are happy to see that also now, when the entire world and especially Jewish communities are facing an unprecedented reality and with the economic challenges we are experiencing, our fellow Jews around the world are continuing to support Israel and expressing their solidarity with us. Keren Hayesod is reviewing the situation every day and is prepared to help through funds raised towards new needs that have arisen from the coronavirus crisis. We are prepared to assist through social initiatives, hospitals, organizations and projects with our strategic partner the Jewish Agency. We hope the world will see the end of this crisis soon and everyone will have a quick return to their regular daily lives.”