I would wager that everyone reading this Post has a soft spot in his/her heart for all of those of our brothers and sisters, our children and grandchildren living in constant peril 24/7 in Sderot. Many of our friends barely escaped to shelter from the terrorists' bombs sent to deliver fear and death from Gaza. To visit with children and their parents who had not seen sunlight for for days, often weeks, was a surreal experience, suggesting the fragility of daily life for all within the range of terrorists' rockets. Our communities have built shelters and funded Victims of Terror and our historic partners have engaged in sacred work on our behalf providing respite, travel to camps and therapy. And, once again, organizations like ORT and JNF have played key roles in meeting the needs of an impacted traumatized but ever-resilient population.
We were there as partners not only with what became our Sderot extended family but with the Government of Israel. Now, we learn from the pages of The Jerusalem Post that Sderot Mayor David Bouskila, friend to so many across the North American Continent, staged a one-person sit-in protest at the Prime Minister's Office, occupying a tent to symbolize the frustrations in trying to reverse what the Mayor claims has been a NIS 25 million cut in Government funding "for residents' basic needs" since 2009 -- the GOI disputes the claims that the cuts were for "basic needs," and argued that funds allocated to Sderot may have been poorly managed.
Inasmuch as so many of our communities have a special relationship with Sderot and with its people, one might have thought that maybe one -- no more, just one -- of the 10s of staff of JFNA's Israel Office might have alerted the federations to these issues affecting this special place in so many of our lives. But, no, they have other things to do -- you know, that GA is coming to town; they want JFNA to replace the Conference of Presidents as the key player in the relationship between the Government of Israel and North American Jewry; and Ms. Caspi and others there have major responsibility for the illusory Global Planning Table. Maybe they just don't have time for Sderot, for its families and children. When JFNA-Israel has an opportunity to actually do something; well, "now is not a good time."
What might JFNA actually do under these circumstances. Well, first of all, it could play the role of honest broker examining the facts on the ground in the dispute between the Government and the municipality; advising the federations of their findings. JFNA-Israel could be the advocate for the municipality in attempts to find common ground with the GOI under the special circumstances embedded in the relationship of our communities with that community. There are probably more things that JFNA-Israel might do -- but, really, I expect that nothing will happen.
You can only cry.