Page 14 - מגידון
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munity resilience

Filling in the gap between needs
& resources

One of the measures of a community's strength and quality consists of residents' willingness to contribute and give of themselves (when
they can), safe in the knowledge that someone will contribute and give to them should they ever become needy. Allotments from gov-
ernment ministries, which dictate the majority of bodies, departments and job positions in regional and local councils, do not extend to
bodies engaged in volunteerism. Nevertheless, in our regional council (as in many others) there is a unit for volunteerism- and its hands
are full.

The importance of volunteers is exceedingly high under routine conditions,
and certainly in times such as we endured this summer. Local communities
in the Regional Council absorbed numerous residents from the south during
Operation Protective Edge, in all some 3,000 people. On any given day there
were approximately 1,000 people here who were fleeing the hostilities. Very
quickly, it dawned on us just how many southern residents we were about
to host here. In response, we contacted all of our local communities and
requested that they appoint a contact person we could work with. Almost
all of the communities took up the gauntlet, and the cooperation with our
local contacts was excellent. Each hosting community accommodated the
guests, supplied them with food and shelter, and allowed them to use public
and recreational facilities. The Regional Council supplied transportation as
well as welfare and psychological services.
The people in the local communities did amazing work. They opened up
their hearts and their homes in a manner deserving of the highest respect
and praise. Their cooperation with the volunteering unit was excellent,
which enabled us to host a much larger number of people that was expected of us. The Ministry of Interior expected that each local coun-
cil in the north host 5% of its own population; we hosted more than 8%.

Opening one's home

Standing next to the fence of Givat Oz is Shay Shlomo, the man who headed the hosting operation. "We opened our doors by communi-
cating via the Regional Council as well as Facebook," he says, "and a lot of families called us. In the end somewhat less people came here,
mainly due to the fear of our close proximity to Jenin.
During this time we hosted about ten families for various lengths of time. We 'nationalized' two apartments and equipped them with the
essential basics. We also took advantage of a house that we renovated in preparation for absorbing a group from Hashomer Hatzair and
made use of children's homes as well. We placed some food in all the homes including treats for children.
We helped our guests by providing lunch in the dining room, hosting them in the pool, and making the education system available to
children for whichever family wanted that, all naturally at no charge.
Some of the families were adopted by kibbutz members and even struck up friendships accompanied by promises to keep in touch.
All of the kibbutz institutions mobilized in order to lend assistance, and everyone who was able to gladly did their part.
Feeling like a community
In Kibbutz Dalia it was Smadar Avraham who headed the
hosting operation. "Nine families stayed here consecutively for
about three or four weeks. Other families came and went for
a night or two," Smadar reports. "The families received apart-
ments that were accessorized as best possible by our members,
who brought whatever they could. Most of the children entered
the local education system."
"We activated our dining hall in order to support families in
which fathers were serving military reserve duty, respond to a
need of the southern residents, and also to instill a community
feeling. The kibbutz budgeted monies for laundry services, ba-
sic equipment and the like. We opened up a daycare that was
previously inactive and placed it at our guests' disposal, on
the kibbutz's account. We brought a community vibe into this
whole operation and generated an overall sense of community
action and togetherness - so that our guests would feel they
were a part of us and also to prevent them from feeling needy"

14 Megidon | February 2015
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