Not too much time to write this week. I'll be in the north visiting the Sarajevo sector of the country--Akko, Tsfat, Maalot and Haifa.
As the debate rages about whether the government should do a mass evacuation of those beleagured citizens of Kiryat Shmona and Nahariya who are enduring their 4th week of terrorized underground living, a slew of non-profit, non-governmental organizations has mobilized hundreds of volunteers. Food deliveries; organizing activities to keep the kids from going stir-crazy; bringing fans; installing air conditioning; ferrying refugees in and out of their towns etc etc. It's all being undertaken by volunteers.
Announcements of massive amounts of money raised by American supporters of Israel keep on cropping up in the press. Today, the United Jewish Communities (UJC) told the Jerusalem Post that they've raised $30 million. "The money, $10m. of which was immediately made available by the Federation and $20m. of which was raised in a fundraiser last Thursday, will go to a number of different charities providing a variety of aid to people in northern Israel." Meanwhile, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein's Keren Yedidut--International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, told Reshet Bet Radio it was disbursing $9 million it had collected to various communities in the north. $39 million should be enough to supply the entire region's bomb shelters with air conditioners, TVs, fans and kid's supplies as well as food for every single person living there. How come all we're hearing from the volunteers on the ground are heartbreaking stories of abysmal deprivation in every single northern community? Why is every grassroots effort that has cropped up to try to meet the human needs sending out desperate cries for funds? Where's the accountability for these huge sums of money?
Meantime, many parts of the normally beautiful, pastoral north have become war zones, with swaths of land burned and craters from the hundreds of Katyusha landings dotting the landscape.
When the war is over, the economic, physical and emotional rehab. will be a slow process.
I posted a few photos of an IDF military base "somewhere on the northern border" at http://flickr.com/photos/jerusalemdiaries/ I visited this base a year or two ago and took these pictures of the Hezbollah enemy, a mere stone's throw away.