I would like to officially express my displeasure with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s comments today that the damage incurred in the Israel’s North by the Second Lebanon War were exaggerated and that American giving was appreciated but not “necessary.”
As a resident of the North and a worker at a large organization that received millions from friends around the world for war recovery, I can definitively say that we couldn’t have done it without you. The donations that we received weren’t, as Olmert asserts, pleasant gifts that aided us along the way, they were essential to our wellbeing– both economically and emotionally.
I read hundreds and hundreds of thank you letters from students who received scholarships as part of the northern recovery plan. I cannot quote them directly for privacy reasons, but I wish you could hear their words.
Each one expressed the hardship, the stress, the fear associated with being under constant bombardment day in and day out. Each one expressed heartfelt thanks for the support they received, saying that the fact others around the world were thinking about them and caring about them gave them the strength to go on.
I can only think that Olmert’s comments to American journalists on a United Jewish Communities mission on Israel’s recovery were a sad diversion tactic from the issue at hand.
The friendship of American Jews is essential to the health of the State of Israel. Their solidarity in times of war and crisis buoys the people of Israel and gives us hope and belief in our own lives.
In the end, I can only speak for myself in saying to the international and American Jewish communities (as well as other supporters) in saying: Thank you. We couldn’t have done it without you.