Nature Israel provides support for the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI), Israel’s oldest and largest independent nonprofit environmental organization. As a part of the fabric of Israeli Society, SPNI is working to house and care for over 100 families from the Gaza envelope and others who were required to evacuate from danger zones but don’t have government funded shelter because they live further than 4 kilometers from Gaza, like S’derot. SPNI is housing these families in its field schools in various safe locations across Israel. The photo above is of families sheltering at our Mitzpe Ramon field school. The sheltering is free of charge to the families, and includes full board and an astounding array of educational and recreational activities and services, including laundry.
During this very difficult time, when the State of Israel is in a state of emergency, the Education Department of SPNI is working to create and provide educational and emotional respites for these families. SPNI’s belief is, that in this period, when most means of communication are broadcasting the horrors of war, without filters, and the discourse everywhere is difficult, the exposure of children to inappropriate content, is a real danger. So SPNI is producing alternative activities and content with the tools at our disposal.
SPNI has taken on this commitment for humanitarian reasons. This is also a time when SPNI’s income from hikes, field schools and activities (ordinarily the majority of our income) has plummeted to zero. We are turning to you, our friends and supporters in Israel and abroad, to help the families most in need in these unprecedented days of national danger and trauma. Please consider supporting this endeavor, this humanitarian mission, even above and beyond your regular giving.
Sheltering families free of charge
Since October 11, we have housed families evacuated from the war zone in two of our southern field schools; 50 families in Eilat and 35 in Mitzpe Ramon. The families are from Sderot, Ofakim, and other rural villages close to the Gaza border.
Providing educational and recreational content for evacuees across the country
SPNI guides are providing regular activities to pre-schoolers, school children, youth and adults, providing an alternative reality and stability to children who have lived through traumatic events. Families of evacuees in our field schools participate in short tours and trips, lectures on nature and astronomy, and activities related to nature and the environment.
Opening special rooms for mothers and babies
In each of the field schools, we have opened a special room for mothers and babies, stocked with all sorts of baby supplies, warm staff people, and good advice.
Housing all sorts of groups
In our Alon Tavor field school in the lower Galilee, and at Ein Gedi on the Dead Sea, we are housing some 80 families of newly arrived Bnei Menashe Indian Jews who were evacuated from an absorption center on the northern border. At the Eilat and Mitzpe Ramon field schools, we are housing Ethiopian Jewish families. At our schools in Achziv on the Mediterranean coast, and that the Golan school in Katzin, we are housing reserve duty units have been called up and training.
Supplying comfort and well-being to the sheltering communities
In Eilat, large group of Ethiopian immigrants was stressed because though the food was plentiful, there was no injera – the Ethiopian sourdough bread which is an essential staple of the cuisine. Within a few hours, the field school director found a caterer who could deliver injera daily. The educational staff and volunteers also help out in the kitchen, with maintenance, and generally tends to any and all needs of the families.
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Israel is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, including some 2,800 species of plants, over 500 species of birds, and 100 species of mammals.
Located along the African-Eurasian flyway, Israel gives more than 500 million migrating birds a place to land twice a year.
Israel is designated as a biodiversity hotspot where focused international conservation efforts will have the greatest net positive effect.
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