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WIZO contributes to rehabilitation of Israel

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Our hearts are bleeding. The gruesome Hamas attacks weren’t political or in support of a cause, they were a savage onslaught with the sole purpose of killing Jews.

Gaza is governed by this terrorist organisation. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) gave a warning to evacuate Gaza City, yet Hamas told citizens to stay because they use their people as human shields. Hospitals and civilian structures have become launching pads for weapons.

More Jews were killed on 7 October than any other day in Jewish history since the Holocaust. The numbers escalate daily, with more than 1 400 Israelis murdered, of which 306 are IDF soldiers. A total of 5 431 people have been injured, and more than 7 400 rockets have been fired. The number of hostages held by Hamas is 222.

During this war against terrorism, the Women’s International Zionist Organisation (WIZO) is playing a major role in the rehabilitation of our beloved Israel. With educational institutions in Israel closed, WIZO convinced the government to allow us to open 11 WIZO day care centres. Now, parents, who are essential medical staff can devote themselves to work knowing that their children are in the best WIZO care.

WIZO’s Youth Villages have welcomed guests evacuated from southern Israel with a warm embrace. Two WIZO shelters for women and children suffering from domestic abuse, two emergency centres for troubled teens, and WIZO foster homes are open. WIZO’s parents’ home for the elderly, some of which are Holocaust survivors, is operational. A new programme, called “WIZO you are never alone” offers support for women whose partners have been called up by the IDF.

As we grieve with the victims of this heinous terror, the latest indication from the South African government is one of pure Jew hatred. Rowan Polovin, the chairperson of the South African Zionist Federation stated, “Our solidarity with the government of South Africa has been shaken in that President [Cyril] Ramaphosa and the ANC [African National Congress] have taken sides with terrorists against peace and democracy. What a disgrace!”

WIZO South Africa expresses solidarity with the Israeli people. The Israeli people have had to pay a high price to ensure that we, as Jews, will always have a homeland and prevail.

Sixty-three employees of World WIZO have been called up by the IDF, and graduates from our WIZO schools and youth villages are serving in the IDF. We’re grateful for the ultimate sacrifice they have made for Israel and Jews in the diaspora.

Unfortunately, Hamas has prioritised the killing of Jews over the welfare and advancement of its own, who suffer deeply. As Jews, we’ll come back stronger! We’ll fight and we’ll rebuild!

We have an amazing group of committed WIZO women, whose passion and emotion has been remarkable. WIZO South Africa has joined our federations around the world to raise funds for the emergency campaign to rebuild WIZO in Israel.

Hug your families a little tighter. This is our fight, and we’ll win it!

Together, we pray for the urgent and safe release of the 222 hostages held by Hamas.

Am Yisrael chai.

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