The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) set out on a mission last week in response to the escalation of violence in the Gaza region to equip some 500 first response volunteers with protective vests among other objectives. On Wednesday, a number of those vests were delivered to United Hatzalah volunteer first responders in the region.
United Hatzalah Chapter Head of Sderot and the Sha’ar HaNegev region, Nehorai Darshan thanked the IFCJ for their assistance in protecting the first responders who drop everything to go out and save lives even under fire. “The protective vests that the IFCJ donated to us will allow a larger number of our first responders to be active when there is a threat of rocket fire. All of the volunteers in Sderot and the Sha’ar HaNegev region feel a sense of duty to help our neighbors and anyone else who is in need of medical assistance during this tough time. This is our community and we must do our part to help everyone here make it through together. However, we also need to protect ourselves. As our chapter has expanded and we have added more volunteers over the past few months, we no longer have enough protective vests for all of our volunteers. We, therefore, thank the IFCJ for recognizing this need and bringing us the needed vests with incredible speed.”
During the rocket attack last week, the IFCJ took it upon themselves to outfit first responders in the towns and cities in the Gaza periphery as well as assisting residents with other much-needed equipment and infrastructure. The operation was carried out in conjunction with the Home Front Command and the heads of the local and regional councils in the area. The specific items that are being acquired have been delineated by the Security Officer of each town.
As a first stage, the IFCJ delivered 500 protective vests to first responders in the cities of Sderot, Ashkelon, Be’er Sheva, Netivot, Ofakim, Ashdod Bnei Ayesh, as well as towns in the regional councils of Eshkol, Hof Ashkelon, Sderot and Sha’ar HaNegev. The IFCJ announced that the number of vests being given out will increase as needed and be carried out in full cooperation with the heads of the councils and the Homefront Command. The IFCJ intends to add hundreds of additional vest to that number in the future. Of the 500 vests, United Hatzalah volunteers were given 30 while the others went to other first responders from other organizations.
Over the past few years, the IFCJ has invested tens of millions of dollars from donors around the world to assist the cities and towns of the south. Projects that were undertaken include refurbishing bomb shelters, purchasing advanced warning drones, constructing resiliency centers, and purchasing and constructing protective shelters for health clinics and hospitals, as well as numerous other projects.
President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer thanked the IFCJ for their help. “United Hatzalah is actively engaging in raising money for an additional thousand protective vests for our volunteers across the entire south. We greatly appreciate the help given by the IFCJ who donated 30 vests to our teams in the area. We have a long way to go to achieve our goal of getting enough vests for all of the new responders in the region, but this donation is a great help and I personally want to thank the IFCJ who is enabling us to protect another 30 first responders. Each of these men and women put their lives at risk to save others and it is our combined duty to give them adequate protection so that they don’t suffer any injury while doing so G-d forbid.”