Natalie Portman joins Israeli Emergency Aid Operation for Syrian refugees
Natalie Portman joined Israeli Emergency Aid Operation for Syrian refugees…and so did former Perth resident Leon Schneider.
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.
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.
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.