Project Spotlight: Yael Visits Hardest Hit Areas and Fellowship Projects in the South

The Fellowship  |  June 3, 2021

Rockets, Yael's Day in the South after rockets, May 24, 202
Yael's Day in the South after rocket attacks, May 24, 2021, close up of Yael Eckstein standing in the rubble of a bombed out apartment, debris, wreckage, ruins

After the nearly two week conflict between Israel and Hamas, when Israelis were barraged with over 4,000 terrorist rockets – most of them on southern Israelis living near the border with Gaza – Yael Eckstein visited the hardest-hit areas and ongoing Fellowship security projects working to support the most vulnerable.

Thankfully, a ceasefire has been reached and has held. But the trauma and pain were apparent as Yael visited each place in the south devastated by rocket fire.

Here are just a few of people and places Yael visited, people and places touched by rocket fire, but also by faithful Fellowship friends who stand for Israel:

  1. Fellowship IDF Vehicle

Yael first visited the Plugot IDF Base near Ashkelon. This base plays an important role in helping the Iron Dome missile defense system by identifying the locations where terrorist rockets are being fired. It then relays the information to the Iron Dome system so the rockets can be intercepted. In the recent 2021 escalation, or Operation Guardian of the Walls, this base identified more than 1,500 rockets in the Ashkelon and Sderot areas that were successfully intercepted during the 11 days of fighting.

The young men and women serving in the base wanted to thank The Fellowship for our support during the conflict, which was the worst escalation they’ve experienced since the 2014 Gaza conflict. The Fellowship IDF Vehicle visited this base to bring soldiers food and drinks while they were working day and night to protect the people of Israel. The soldiers felt as if they were receiving a big hug from The Fellowship and they couldn’t stop saying “thank you!”

  1. Holocaust Survivor Suffers Direct Hit in Ashkelon

Can you imagine hiding in your home with no shelter from terrorist rockets and praying for the fighting to stop… and then the worst happens. Your home is hit.

That’s what happened to a Holocaust survivor in Ashkelon. She told Yael that her home was directly hit by a missile on the second day of the conflict. And her caregiver, who was with her, actually died from the explosion.

Yael saw the destruction of her home and all the loss that comes with terrorist rocket fire. It was clear that these vulnerable people in the south – including elderly and Holocaust survivors – desperately need more bomb shelters. So many of them have nowhere to take shelter when rockets fall, or the shelter is too far away to make it to safety in time. The elderly especially have a hard time running to shelter in the few seconds they have to take cover.

After this incident, one of the new Fellowship mobile bomb shelters was placed across the street. That’s why the Fellowship mobile bomb shelters YOU help us deliver to the people of Israel are so important.

  1. Elderly With Dignity and Fellowship Recipients

During the rocket fire, no citizen of Israel was safe. Of course, people in the south suffered the worst of the rocket fire, but there was nowhere to run or escape to as rockets were reaching all the way into central Israel, including large cities like Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Israel was on fire; the Holy Land was under attack.

Many of our With Dignity and Fellowship recipients had no choice but to stay in their homes as rockets fell, trapped inside for days waiting for the terror to end.

That’s what happened to Mazal, a With Dignity and Fellowship recipient who shared her story with Yael. She explained that the code red sirens were constantly sounding. She never left her apartment. All she could do was move a few feet in her tiny apartment from the window to the stairwell.

It’s a miracle precious Mazal survived the attacks. That’s why the hundreds of Fellowship meals YOU helped us deliver to elderly trapped in their homes like Mazal are so important. Thousands more meals were delivered to families and vulnerable people in public bomb shelters.

  1. Fellowship-Supported Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon

It only took one hour for people to need shelter after The Fellowship placed three new mobile bomb shelters in the parking lot of one of the largest hospitals in the south. Just one hour after the mobile bomb shelters touched the parking lot ground, rockets fell and people ran for their lives.

That’s just one example of how you, our faithful friends, helped protect Fellowship-supported Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon (located eight miles north of Gaza). Thanks to you, hospital staff were able to transfer newborn babies in the neo-natal care unit to the Fellowship-funded bombproof delivery room unit, ensuring they remained protected throughout the rocket fire. And new mothers in the middle of giving birth didn’t have to rush to a bomb shelter, instead finding shelter and protection in the unit you helped provide.

Yael spoke with Dr. Gili Givati, Dep. Director of the hospital, who explained that approximately 450 wounded were treated at the hospital during the fighting. This included soldiers, trauma victims, and those who were badly wounded.

  1. Fellowship Mobile Bomb Shelters in Sderot

Over 10,000 code red sirens have sounded in the last 20 years in Sderot, where people only have 15 seconds to reach a protected space before rockets fall.

Yael visited Sderot to meet with Mayor Alon Davidi near a new park where five new Fellowship-funded mobile bomb shelters have been placed. Mayor Davidi explained that Sderot is a wonderful city which is helped so much by The Fellowship. Mayor Davidi was extremely grateful to The Fellowship for funding the mobile bomb shelters which allow people to go out to the park and feel safe.

Pray for Israel

As The Fellowship – powered by our faithful supporters – works to protect Israel, let us remember that her people need your prayers for peace as there are always enemies who wish to attack her. Yet, we know that as a people of faith, God’s miracles and protection are stronger than any enemy.