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Disengagement The Diaspora

Helping the Jewish Refugees Rebuild Their Lives

CAMPAIGN LAUNCH: A Message From Friends of Gush Katif

More than ten months after their tragic expulsion from Gush Katif and northern Samaria, most of the expellees still have not received the compensation promised them by the Israeli Government. And, the major American Jewish organizations, as a whole, have ignored their plight and welfare. Since the organized Jewish community is not assisting these needy Jews financially, we as individuals must provide the necessary aid. To that end, and as announced yesterday on the ZOA Middle East Report radio program (available at, I hereby announce the email launch of the Friends of Gush Katif Jewish Refugee Fund, from which 100% of the dollars raised will go directly to the expellees, through the registered 501C(3) charitable fund, “Friends of Gush Katif.”

I have created a campaign that will combine fundraising with a visual, moving, tangible tribute to the refugees. On August 1, 2006, the expellees will be commemorating the first anniversary of their expulsion. The largest of the commemorative events will take place at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, where most of the nearly 10,000 refugees from Gush Katif and northern Samaria are expected to be.

Our brothers and sisters feel abandoned (and, rightly so), having been physically removed from their homes and land, and having not received substantial support from their brethren in Israel and here in America. My idea is to directly address this feeling of abandonment. We plan to produce a video that we intend to show on a giant television screen in Jerusalem during the commemoration ceremonies. Included on the video will be short greetings from donors of a minimum of $180* to Friends of Gush Katif, who will have emailed me a digital movie clip. Our goal is to have a 90-minute video filled from start to finish with best wishes to the expellees from their Jewish and Christian brothers and sisters around the world. If one does not have access to a video camera, he or she will be able to mail or email us a photograph to be included on the video, with a caption created underneath. The collection of greetings will be shown continuously in the background during the ceremonies, occasionally with the sound raised up high. This moving tribute to the former residents of Gush Katif and northern Samaria should prove to them that they have not been abandoned; that, quite to the contrary, they have many strong supporters in the United States and elsewhere who have renewed energy, passion and purpose in helping their brethren.

I will provide you with frequent updates of the campaign and am sure that the leaders of the Jewish Federations in North America and other American Jewish leaders will be following its progress closely. The more dollars we raise, the more likely it would be that the UJC and other Jewish organizations allocate money for the refugees!

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