Israelis are mobilising on the home front to support the IDF

From blood donations to emergency wedding supplies, across Israel, volunteers are coming together


Israeli citizens pack donations of food and other necessities for the Israeli soldiers and citizens in the south, in Tel Aviv, October 15, 2023. Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** ?????? ??????? ?????? ??????? ??????? ?????? ??????? ????? ?? ???? ?? ????

Just days after facing the most brutal attack in the country’s history, in which 1,400 people were killed and over 190 were kidnapped to Gaza, Israelis have responded in the only way they know how - by helping one another.

In the months prior to Saturday, October 7, the Israeli people were considered more divided than ever before, with the judicial reform legislation causing a rift that many feared could not be closed. However, over the past eight days, it has become clear that this was not the case, and in the face of immense tragedy, it is as though it had never existed.

Israelis from all walks of life have been coming together in support of one another, donating food to the soldiers on the front lines and the communities in the south, waiting in line for hours to donate blood, and offering assistance in any way that they can.

In the wake of Operation Iron Sword, a new organization was quickly formed, under the name Civil Power. The movement states on its website that “in tough times, we discover the power of community to come together and offer help,” adding that Civil Power is their response to that call.

The aim of the platform, itself created by volunteers, is to provide “a simple and friendly interface for people to post requests for help in various areas - financial assistance, toy donations, transportation, and more.”

At the same time, they explain, “Volunteers can provide the help they can offer, creating deep and meaningful connections within the community.”

The requests posted on Civil Power range from donation requests posted by well-established organizations such as One Family, all the way to a post from a small group of IDF soldiers requesting “cigarettes and protein bars.”

And Civil Power isn’t the only group taking advantage of technology to raise funds and awareness.

Wolt, one of two major food delivery services in Israel, has taken the opportunity to appeal to its large clientele, partnering with Latet, an organization working to fight poverty and food insecurity in Israel.

Now, when visiting either the Wolt app or website, users are greeted with a new section on the landing page - Support the South.

The partnership between the two companies offers users an option to donate food boxes to families on the frontline of the war at three different price points as well as an option to donate a 100 shekel box of toiletries and hygiene products.

Each box contains at least one bottle of rapeseed oil, one can of tomato paste, one can of white beans in tomato sauce, one can of corn, one package of rice and a 1.5 litre bottle of mineral water, and the more expensive boxes contain additional items such as chickpeas, lentils and instant ramen noodles.

At the same time as money and supplies are raised for families in the south, a very different but no less crucial form of volunteering is taking place among one specific group of people - brides and soon-to-be brides.

The Brides to Be - Israel Facebook group has some 6,600 members, many of whom have been turning to the group with advice and offers of help for those who need it.

In one such post, wedding musician Shai Barak explained that due to the ongoing war, all his upcoming engagements had been cancelled or postponed, and as such, he had some free time.

“Anyone planning last-minute small events and in need of help with music is welcome to reach out to me privately, and I'll be happy to assist free of charge,” he wrote.

Floral designers Penny and Co were also quick to offer free services to brides in need, writing that “we have to show our enemies that we will continue to wed and have children, despite their wanting to destroy us.”

Other offers posted in the group have come not from artists and businesses, but from newly-wed women, putting themselves in the shoes of those who have decided to plan an emergency, last-minute wedding under enemy fire, and donating their wedding dresses, free of charge.

“I'm so sorry for the stressful and difficult times,” one woman wrote on an offer to donate her dress, “and I hope this can help enhance someone's Simcha in just a small way.”

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