Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the country’s citizens have lived under siege, bravely trying to safeguard their security and safety.
Just as our shared values of common humanity and human rights guide our investments in Israel, we look at the ongoing tragedy in Eastern Europe and do what we can to assist.
Around the world, NIF is raising funds to enable our long-time partners, the Zionist youth movement Hashomer Hatzair, to open four centres for refugees on the Poland-Ukraine border.
The Jewish people know all too well the trauma of war and strife, particularly in this part of the world.
With Ukrainians subjected to violent attacks, I’m proud that NIF can be among the global organisations supporting people seeking safety and protection.
The project we are funding – run by Hashomer Hatzair – is now up and running, thanks to funding from NIF donors around the world like you and an Israeli crowdfunding campaign of hundreds of thousands of shekels.
(In Israel, Hashomer Hatzair is as much a social change organisation for all ages as it is a youth movement. Not only are we funding their efforts in Ukraine, NIF has also established a strategic relationship with them by funding a unique ‘social justice centre’ in the shared Jewish-Arab city of Ramle to advance cooperation.)
Hashy has set up a camp in the town of Przemysl in Poland, just across the border from the Ukrainian city of Lviv. From that base, experienced volunteers are running educational programs, and medical and mental health professionals are providing medical care and psychological support.
It is also acting as a logistics centre to distribute essential equipment to refugees from the battle zones in Ukraine and to dispatch food, medicine, winter clothing and personal gear into the country.
Inside Ukraine, the movement’s madrichim have been operating in several centres, working with hundreds of members. Some have taken refuge in basements in Kharkiv, Lviv, and other cities; others have become refugees and are moving west in search of safety.
The safe houses have become de facto aid centres for groups providing people with food, a hiding place and electricity to, among other things, charge their phones and allow them to stay in touch with friends and family.
It’s unusual for NIF to support a program outside Israel but I’m sure you’ll agree that the extraordinary nature of this moment justifies our involvement and support.
WATCH: Hashomer Hatzair Oren Zukiercorn, who recently spent time in Poland and Ukraine, in his briefing for Hashomer Hatzair Australia.