Nir Oz Children
By: Marelinke van der Riet

The small Israeli farming village of Nir Oz, home to some 400 residents, was devastating by the horrific events of October 7, which profoundly impacted their community life. On that tragic day, around 100 members were either killed or taken hostage into nearby Gaza by Hamas terrorists. A staggering 80% of the homes were destroyed, and the community was pillaged. Currently, 37 residents remain hostages, though sadly at least ten of them may no longer be alive – including the Bibas family.  

The remaining community members were quickly evacuated to hotels and only recently were relocated to temporary housing in Kiryat Gat. They will reside there until their beloved community of Nir Oz can be rebuilt.  

In Kiryat Gat, the municipality has generously provided space for kibbutz members to continue their communal activities. This includes facilities for their children, such as kindergartens, and the establishment of a youth club. Thanks to a generous gift from ICEJ supporters in Canada, the children were recently able to participate in a wood-working and furniture-crafting project. This not only brought joy and fun to the youth, but also enabled them to create furniture for their new clubhouse – another bright, safe space for them to meet. 

“In these challenging times, when so many families are still grieving and worried about loved ones being held hostage to this day, the community ties are more important than ever,” explained Nicole Yoder, ICEJ Vice President for AID & Aliyah. “The chance for the youth to enjoy fun activities strengthens them and frees parents to deal with other pressing concerns. This gift tells them that they are remembered and cared for, and that feeling of being noticed makes all the difference. We are so thankful to our friends for making this possible.” 

It is hoped that this club space will serve as a healing environment where the youth can come together, have good, clean fun, and forge strong bonds after all the traumatic experiences they endured. 

Your support of our Israel in Crisis fund is helping to bring healing to traumatised Israelis. Please continue to donate at:  give.icej.org/crisis