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A Personal Message from Mirit Sulema, Dror Israel's International Engagement Director

Dear Friends, This is one of Israel’s worst days in recent memory. I am writing to you to let you know first-hand what is happening here and to ask for your support. Since early this morning, the country has been under severe and terrifying attack. For Dror Israel, tens of thousands of our students, community program participants, counselors, and educators are under fire in the south and center of the country. In the face of this horror, we are appraising the situation and as we always do in times of emergency - helping support the moral, social, and psychological strength of the children, youth, and families in the communities living under fire. In the meantime, our educators are in touch with all of our students and participants and lending support where we can. Our boarding school in Mitzpe Ramon in the south has opened its doors to anyone fleeing the hardest hit areas. The school system and activities will be closed tomorrow in much of the country. This morning we were meant to go to synagogue to celebrate a joyous Simchat Torah, but instead we woke up to a terrible nightmare that we could never have imagined. Israelis in the center and south are under constant rocket fire, and terrorists have actually infiltrated communities near the Gaza border, attacking and kidnapping civilians. And now - some seven hours into the battle - some of these communities are still being held by Hamas. The incredibly strong members of our Educator community in Sderot, who spend every cycle of violence looking after the most vulnerable in their community - running activities with kids, spending time in shelters, delivering food and medication, and keeping up communication and hope with families stuck in their strong rooms - are at the moment under strict instructions to stay inside, as terrorists have been roaming the streets of their city shooting indiscriminately, in addition to the constant rocket fire. Members of Dror Israel Educator Communities in Sderot, Ashkelon, Beer Sheva, Rehovot, and Tel Aviv are already preparing safe educational responses to the situation, planning programs to help children process their awful experiences, to support the communities which have been infiltrated by terrorists, and to rehabilitate the feelings of personal safety of all Israelis - regardless of nationality, religion, socio-economic status, age, etc. We appreciate any and all help and support that you, our friends across the sea, can offer at this time. Hoping and praying for safety, quiet, and ultimately for the restoration of peace. Mirit

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