Natalie Portman joins Israeli Emergency Aid Operation for Syrian refugees

February 7, 2014 Agencies
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Natalie Portman joined Israeli Emergency Aid Operation for Syrian refugees…and so did former Perth resident Leon Schneider.

Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman

Israeli-born actress Natalie Portman, who is currently in Tel Aviv working on her new film, recently heard about the operation from local friends and decided to join in. The civil war in Syria has created a severe humanitarian crisis, with millions of refugees and displaced persons in constant mortal danger due to severe shortages of basic necessities. In response to the harsh winter, Dror Israel, the “Hanoar Haoved VeHalomed” (Working & Learning Youth) Movement, and Israeli Flying Aid organized a nation-wide humanitarian drive to collect life-saving winter supplies. During the operation, titled “Human-Warmth – Israeli youth aiding Syrian youth,” 30 tons of winter equipment were collected.

Israeli volunteers

Israeli volunteers

The nation-wide operation to collect winter supplies began two weeks ago and was led by Israeli youth in order to aid non-combatant women and children.
The Working & Learning Youth movement branches served as local collection points, numbering 80 in total. Many individuals and groups, including other youth movements and schools, decided to join and help as well. In order to ensure that all the information was readily available to the public, a website and Facebook page were set up immediately.

During the operation, over 20,000 items were collected, weighing approximately 30 tons. The lifesaving equipment, including Portman’s donation, was transferred in trucks filled with 1,200 boxes, which will be passed onto the Syrian refugees and misplaced persons.

Natalie Portman, born in Jerusalem, arrived in Tel Aviv to work on her new film. She had heard about the operation from local friends in Israel, and decided to help immediately. Portman donated part of her personal winter wardrobe and sent a contribution through the operation’s fundraising web site.

“When I heard about Operation Human Warmth I felt deeply moved and compelled to get involved. In the middle of a brutal winter, these children have no shelter and their lives are in serious jeopardy from the cold. I am proud to take part in an operation where Israeli youth of all backgrounds are taking action to help out those whom need it most.” said Portman.

Dror Israel international collaborations director and movement member, Gilad Perry, has been actively involved in the Human Warmth Operation since its inception. As a committed Israeli citizen and activist for human rights, Perry has struggled with the difficult images and pictures being released from Syria.

“Regardless of international relations between Israel and Syria, I don’t believe that we can sit by in indifference and allow the suffering experienced by innocent men, women, and children to continue without trying to assist in any way we can. We in Dror Israel are committed to fighting injustice and violence in Israeli society, so when we see the situation in Syria right now, we feel compelled to act. We feel that this operation is an expression of the Israeli public’s willingness to help those who need it most,” Perry said.

Leon Schneider

Leon Schneider

For 33-yr-old Leon Schneider, it was a major operation shortly before he returns to Perth where he will become the shaliach for the Jewish Agency and Dror.

From his home in Hadera Schneider told J-Wire: “I moved to Israel from Perth in June 2004 and spent my first two years in Jerusalem before moving to Hadera. In Israel I am teaching in a Dror Israel School and also work in the International Collaborations Division of Dror Israel. This  Division deals specifically with the creation of partnerships with Jewish communities and federations outside of Israel, and the strengthening of those partnerships, as well as the exposure of the important work that Dror Israel does throughout Israeli society.

I personally did not meet Natalie Portman.
My involvement with this project has been through the International Collaborations Division of Dror Israel. We are responsible for distributing news and updates of this operation to our partners around the world, as well as to news outlets. We also seek additional funding for the continuation of the project.”

Comments

2 Responses to “Natalie Portman joins Israeli Emergency Aid Operation for Syrian refugees”
  1. Gil Solomon says:

    I for one am sick and tired of hearing how Jews have the knee jerk need to aid Arabs caught up in the fighting between opposing barbarians. Those seeking this aid would no doubt be supporters of one side or the other and if they had their chance would do to their opponents exactly what was done to them, with the common denominator being that both sides hate Jews.

    Jews should concern themselves with giving aid, comfort, free medical supplies and hospitalisation etc. to the poor within Israel in order to try to alleviate their poverty.

    They should give their support to groups wanting the 60,000 illegal Africans deported immediately so that the enormous funds being squandered on these people can be terminated and given to the already poor in Israel.

    In short, let the Arab world look after their own and if they will not go down this road, then so be it. It is not Israel’s concern what these people do to each other.

    Apart from some temporary “feel good” notion, these efforts are as useless as when Israel sends in planeloads of humanitarian assistance, doctors, nurses medical supplies to foreign countries when natural disasters occur. To my knowledge, Israeli assistance is never mentioned in the local or world press, the host country does not allow the Israeli flag to be hoisted in the makeshift hospitals set up, the Israelis enter the country virtually by the back door unannounced and through the back door they leave without so much as an acknowledgement, let alone a thank you from the host country.
    Israel’s efforts will only ever be mentioned in a Jewish newspaper and that’s about it.

    In summary, Israel has more than enough problems of her own and should cease squandering its resources assisting the citizens of unfriendly regimes. History has shown, nothing done here (just like humanitarian aid for those in Gaza or Lebanon in the past) will mean squat 12 months from now.

  2. Paul Winter says:

    It is indeed heart-warming to read that Jew are behaving – well, like Jews – toward suffering humanity, even if they are citizens of a Jew-hating regime at war with Israel. Even if the recipients of the aid must keep quiet about those who help them and publicly demonstrate an unwavering hate toward the Jewish state.

    But am I missing something? Yes, we all know that there are numerous Arabs who have gone to Syria to help and managed to acquire military skill. And we know that the Suadis and the Qataris are arming Sunni gangs while the Iranians arm the Shi’ite supporters of the Assad regime. But what aid has actually reached those caught up in the conflict who have not reached safety in Turkey or Jordan, apart from that coming from Israel? Where are all those wealthy kings, princes, sheikhs etc ever ready to arm fighters and declare that they are the most pious of the pious slaves of Allah? What assistance is the PA giving to to their Syrian kin? Where are all of Israel’s friends in singing praises of her humanitarian efforts and joining her endeavours?

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