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  • Writer's pictureDiana BTJ

Special letter+video request from Emanuel Ben-David

I received this email from our friend Emanuel. He is from Israel but currently lives in Ashland. Many of you have met Emanuel at Bridge To Jerusalem events or perhaps at one of the informative presentations he has given. In his email, he shares an important request that I would like to pass on to you. He has also included a video request from his son:

"I am writing to you because the situation in Israel became even more personal for me. My son, Gil (next week he’ll celebrate his 37th birthday) and his reserve unit were mobilized on the morning of Shabbat the 7th of October. He and his company are stationed not too far from Ramallah, a major city in the West Bank. Their mission is to ensure that the West Bank does not join the war efforts of Hamas, while also keeping those civilians living near that area safe.

A few days ago, I received a personal request from Gil and his commanding officer for protective gear such as helmets and bulletproof vests. It appears that less than half of the soldiers in Gil’s unit, that are out on operational activities, have the appropriate lifesaving gear. The rest are doing their assignments without bulletproof vests.

You may wonder why Gil’s unit does not have all the appropriate gear they need. Not having a certain answer, I can only assume that one of the reasons is that many more than were called stepped forward and volunteered to serve. Israelis abroad drop everything and caught flights to return to Israel to contribute to the war effort. Reports assess that the number of reservists reporting to duty exceeded 150% of those called to serve. Or maybe it’s a matter of priorities. It is likely that the troops destined to fight in and near Gaza are top priority to have the equipment they need and those further away (like my son’s unit) are left with much less than the needed quantities.

In my last email I listed several links to many organizations who are providing assistance to Israel, asking you to get involved and not to remain silent. Today, I ask join me in this fund-raising campaign which has been set up through Havurah Shir Hadash (an established 501(c)(3)). This special fund will allow you to make a tax deductible donation that will go directly towards purchasing the lifesaving gear these reservists in Gil’s unit need. Any amount that you give will support and protect my son Gil and his comrades in their service and efforts to stop this war of terror waged on Israel by Hamas.

Our goal today is to raise enough funds to secure at least 36 bulletproof vests and possibly other much needed support gear. As a point of reference, the cost of one bulletproof vest exceeds $1,000 USD.

I am working tirelessly with my contacts both in the US and in Israel to ensure the equipment we purchase with these funds is in keeping with the same high standards for equipment procured directly by the IDF. Together with my friends we will overcome all barriers (standardization, regulatory and transportation means to name a few) and make sure that the equipment will be used by Gil and his comrades.

The best way to support this effort is to mail in a check (please write IDF in the memo) to: Havurah Synagogue 185 N Mountain Ave. Ashland, OR 97520 If you prefer to donate with a credit card, you may do so on the website of Havurah Shir Hadash, CLICK HERE to go to the relevant page. Please consider adding 5% to your donation to cover their credit card clearing fees. Just before you click "Donate" you will see "add special instructions to the seller”. Please put "IDF" in that field and then click the “Donate” button. Thank you in advance for your support in this way. I am doing all I can to help my son, even from this distance. I pray for his safety as well as the safe keeping of his wife and two children.

With the deepest of gratitude and thanks on behalf of my son and his entire unit.

Am Yisrael Ḥai!

Rabbi Emanuel Ben-David

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