Israelis fed up of “standing idly by” have promised to help hundreds of thousands of Syrian children left stranded and starving after the Russian and Syrian governments reduced Syria’s biggest city to rubble.
Organisers of the grassroots effort ‘Just Beyond the Border’ said they were bypassing Israeli government inaction and taking direct action, motivated by memories of the Holocaust.
“Hundreds of thousands of children are now refugees, orphans, torn apart from the world they knew,” the group said. “They are just trying to survive the cold winter.”
Using the Mimoona fundraising website, they have so far raised more than £200,000 from more than 5,300 individual donors, and have enlisted the help of Israeli Flying Aid to deliver blankets, medicine, sanitation kits and baby food.
Organiser Yoav Bakshi Yeivin said: “As an Israeli child I grew up asking where the world was when we needed them most. As a Jew I always knew that I was expected to be there, to help and lend a hand. There is no nation that knows better than us how lethal apathy can be.”
He said the world was “watching, considering its options,” but added: “As an Israeli, a Jew and a neighbour I can’t just stand idly by.”
Another organiser, Shivi Froman, said: “The reality in Syria is complicated for us as Israelis but inaction is not an option. We want to take children out of the equation because children are children and they deserve assistance irrespective of how complex the reality might be.”