Updated: Nov 2
In Israel, so many people from all walks of life have stepped up to volunteer and support each other. There are so many efforts going on at once, but two young entrepreneurs in particular have emerged as notable figures, rallying hundreds of volunteers in the partnership area.
Yaakov Ben David, Hadera
23-year-old Yaakov Ben David has established "Maal'e", a nonprofit organization originally created to assist Ukrainian soldiers and civilians impacted by the Russia-Ukraine war. Under Yaakov's leadership, Maal'e has provided shelter, financial support, and essential supplies to hundreds of individuals in Ukraine.
Drawing from this valuable experience, Yaakov and his mother, Zoya Ben David (a prominent figure in Hadera known for her social activism and an L2G Program alumna), have now launched the Israeli branch of Maal'e, with a focus on supporting IDF soldiers. This initiative has been in operation since October 9 and is working in collaboration with Hadera Municipality's "Pnai Ha'ir."
They have successfully mobilized local volunteers to prepare meals, collect groceries, gather clothing and equipment donations, and distribute these provisions to IDF soldiers throughout the country. In addition, as Hadera welcomes displaced families from the south and north, Maal'e is also extending its assistance by providing them with food and clothing donations.
Zoya underlines the significance of this endeavor, stating, "This has become a haven for Hadera residents to make substantial contributions to the war effort while nurturing a strong sense of community."
Shir Tabac Agam, Pardes-Hanna Karkur
Shir Tabac Agam, a 31-year-old Ph.D. student at the Technion, has established a central coordination hub focused on the Pardes Hanna-Karkur area, connecting volunteers with various local initiatives. Her WhatsApp group named "Parkur Mitgayeset" (meaning "Pardes Hanna-Karkur Enlists"), was launched just last Tuesday. The group started with a handful of her friends and rapidly evolved into a bustling operations center, boasting nearly 850 active volunteers.
Every post submitted to the group undergoes an initial screening process, ensuring it adheres to national security guidelines while also confirming its accuracy and relevance. After this vetting, volunteers take the lead. Remarkably, the volunteer efforts this week alone have included donations of food, clothing, and equipment collected at a local center, the transportation of essential supplies to soldiers across the country, and assisting those who were displaced from their homes near the southern and northern borders in finding accommodations.
Shir aptly concludes, "It's crucial to recognize that this is a marathon, so we must prepare ourselves for the long haul."