Operation Human Warmth – Offering a Helping Hand to Neighbors in Crisis
As the Syrian Civil War continues to rage, leaving an extreme humanitarian crisis in its wake, Israeli youth led by the HaNoar HaOved VeHalomed youth movement, Dror Israel and the Combat Genocide Association, have decided to roll out Operation Human Warmth – a massive nation-wide aid effort – for the third time in the past five years to save innocent lives in Syria.
The civil war over the border continues to amass casualties. According to the UN, since the beginning of the fighting, about 500,000 people have been killed and 12.5 million Syrians have been displaced from their homes and are in constant mortal danger due to lack of basic shelter and supplies. Most of the refugees and displaced persons lack the basic provisions to survive the cold winter.
This situation has motivated Israeli youth, including those here in Akko, for the third time in five years to implement a large-scale humanitarian operation to try to ease the suffering amid worsening weather conditions in Syria by collecting winter provisions – provisions that will save lives. The public will be able to bring supplies to five collection facilities throughout northern Israel, where donations will be sorted and packed by Jewish, Arab and Druze volunteers from HaNoar HaOved VeHalomed youth movement, Dror Israel and the Combat Genocide Association. In addition, the public is invited to donate money for the purchase of diapers and baby milk substitutes. The operation is focusing on collecting winter coats, blankets, gloves, warm shoes, sleeping bags and donations of money for the purchase of diapers and infant formula, in order to help the people in Syria survive the cold, harsh winter.
The massive success of the operation on both previous occasions has laid the foundation for the decision to roll out Human Warmth for a third time. In 2014 and 2017, volunteers from HaNoar HaOved VeHalomed and Dror Israel collected more than 80 tons of supplies packed in more than 3,500 crates that were sent over the border to save lives in Syria. It is amazing to see the incredible ripple effect of the decision by a few young leaders to make a difference. Their passionate activism, guided by members of Dror Israel and the Combat Genocide Association, has inspired waves of hope and inspiration throughout the Israeli public and shown that every single person can make a difference.
For the third time, the operation’s organizers are calling on the public to rally once more and contribute to this important operation by bringing supplies to a collection facility near their homes or by donating money through the website. Donated supplies will be transferred from the northern collection points to refugees and displaced persons in Syria with the help of an aid organization.
Volunteers at the collection facilities will follow guidelines designed to ensure the safety of the refugees and displaced persons who will use the donated supplies. For example, items with logos of Israeli brands or Hebrew writing will not be accepted for donation. Collection coordinators will inspect each item and cut tags from the donations where necessary.
Tal Rotem, national coordinator of Operation Human Warmth from the Combat Genocide Association, explained the motivation to organize the operation: “We cannot remain apathetic to the horrors that are reported each day from Syria. Our history as a nation and our democratic society compel us morally to act to help all who need help, to be the voice of the voiceless. We must do all we can to help those in need. A human tragedy of enormous scope, taking place at a distance of a four hours’ drive from Tel Aviv or one hour from the Kinneret, compels us as Israelis and as human beings to act to save lives. History teaches that throughout the ages, a few people always chose to act for the force of good. We call on the Israeli public – let us open our hearts and together we can help save lives. This is the least that we, Israeli citizens, can do in the face of this human tragedy.”