When Hamas attacked Israeli communities on October 7, the survivors had to flee their homes, often with only the clothes on their backs. While some were able to find places to go in Israel or abroad, many of the victims had nowhere to go. They were evacuated mostly to kibbutzim around the country, as well as hotels in Eilat and near the Dead Sea. With a lot of goodwill but often very limited resources, these locations struggled to provide for evacuated families.
In addition to helping cover costs for these families, we have also given significant grants to develop and sustain Tzedek Centers. The centers were established and run by the youth movement Hashomer Hatzair to create physical hubs of shared spaces to build power from the ground up. On October 7, they shifted all of their energy to caring for evacuees. They work in 15 different cities, transforming their pre-existing infrastructure and staff (minus ⅓ who were drafted to military service) to open call centers that connect volunteers who want to host people in their homes with families looking for a safe place to stay.
They have placed 1,500 families in safe places to shelter. They also worked with Givat Haviva’s campus in the north, housing families in their dormitories and using their lecture halls as community centers with clothing, food, toiletries, gyms, a laundromat, and places for children to play and learn in. They have also formed a center for psychological and emotional support for those suffering after the brutal attack. All for free.
Iris, an evacuee from Ashkelon and a mother, lived in one of these spaces provided by the Tzedek Centers. “The people here received us in a way that simply allowed us to breathe,” she said. “I came here with a broken heart, but this place gives me strength.”