Israeli products worth thousands of pounds were donated to homeless shelters and food banks yesterday as part of a groundbreaking initiative from grassroots activists in the UK.
Sussex Friends of Israel and Northwest Friends of Israel, both of which were set up during the Gaza crisis this summer, urged supporters to help counter boycott calls by purchasing non-perishable goods produced in Israel for distribution to those most in need.
The first ever IsrACTION Day was held nationwide on Sunday but also spread as far as America and Australia.
Fiona Sharpe, a member of the executive of SFI, said: “The day exceeded all expectations.
“Purchasing Israeli food products helps to counter boycotts but being able to help those in need – at a time of year when homeless shelters and food banks need food the most – was the most important end result. We are already talking about plans for next year.”
The initiative was supported by the Zionist Federation which arranged for Stanmore Synagogue and Sha’arei Tsedek Reform Synagogue to be two drop-off points in London.
Over the course of the day several hundred pounds worth of food were delivered there alone.
ZF Chairman Paul Charney said: “IsrACTION Day is a fantastic idea, and the success shows the importance of local communities taking action. The ZF were proud to contribute by getting London involved in this nationwide event.
We want to thank all those who donated, the synagogues who hosted our drop-off points, and to SFI and NorthWestFoI for initiating it.”
Sharpe said the project was particularly successful in the regions but that they hoped that next year would see even more involvement from within London as well as having more countries engaged.
“The beauty id this is that anyone can get involved anywhere in the world,” she said.