Christian-supported organization takes in refugees from rocket-battered South
Residents with special needs and no bomb shelters escape to the North for a few days of peace
An absorption center run by believers in the Galilee has opened its doors to residents of southern Israel desperate to escape the barrage of rockets that has battered the region over the past 72 hours.
Chaim Malespin, director of operations at Aliyah Return Center (ARC), said he’s been working with the army's Southern Command emergency responders – what he calls Israel’s FEMA – in order to help relocate Israelis living in the line of fire.
“We are actually maxed out in all of our places already,” Malespin told ALL ISRAEL NEWS.
Just 24 hours after the call went out that ARC would open its facilities, Malespin said they filled up. ARC is a registered Israeli charity run by believers in Yeshua both in Israel and abroad that helps new immigrants transition into the country.
During operations such as these, the army evacuates residents who live close to the border with Gaza and have extraneous circumstances, such as no bomb shelter. In some cases, it may be a physical challenge - such as confinement to a wheelchair - or other reasons, for example, those who suffer from epileptic attacks, which can be triggered by an explosion.
Beleaguered residents of the South started making their way to the Aliyah Return Center from Tuesday night, scared and traumatized, Malespin said.
“These people are terrified, they are terrified of dying,” Malespin told us.
Malespin sees a cumulative effect of hopelessness affecting Israelis due the financial impact of COVID lockdowns, a lack of a stable government and, now, the urgent security situation.
“It has been too much for people. They are starting to lose their hope. They need hope – and acts of kindness bring hope,” he said.
The people who arrived were grateful for free – and safe – accommodations and were amazed that the place is sponsored by Christians who love Israel.
The rescue mission transpired after Malespin got in touch with his army buddies – the tunnel detection unit – to find out more on the situation. With fewer immigrants this year, ARC had extra space and was able to help.
There are plenty of beds and kitchenettes available so people can cook their meals, but ARC provided food packs to those who arrived. But there are more people – and more needs – than there are food and resources.
Malespin also noted that the ARC’s facilities are open to all Israeli residents – Jews and Arab alike – despite recent unrest in several mixed communities over the past few days.
“Anyone is welcome, anyone who is under fire – Arab or Jew, we are welcoming you,” he said.
“We have to walk this out and hold on to hope – and not even rockets are going to destroy our hope,” Malespin said. “And we can do our part to make a difference.”
Malespin called on others in the North who could “bring hope to this country in her time of need.“
“Open up any place you can – your houses, your zimmer (guesthouse) and cook a good meal. It is time to exercise faith and share hope.”
He also called upon believers who support Israel to help.
“This is the time to get involved and not to be on the sidelines,” Malespin said. “In the South there are thousands of people in the short-range (of missiles) on the border that need help.”
Check the Aliyah Return Center website for more information or to help.
Nicole Jansezian was the news editor and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS.