For many around the world, one of the most frustrating aspects of the
violence in Israel is the seeming inability to help -- even in some
small way. And while we may not be able to stop the suicide bombers, we
can still take action to lift Israel's spirits and help it contend with
an increasingly uncertain situation.
Even if our actions do not appear to influence the overall outcome
of events, at the very least we succeed in changing ourselves. And
that, in and of itself, is an important victory.
In celebration of Israel's 54th birthday, we present our
readers' "54 Ways You Can Help Israel" -- in no particular order. And
thank you to the hundreds of people who submitted ideas.
- Buy Israeli products and services.
With the Israeli economy suffering, go out of your way to support Israel's export trade. www.shopinisrael.com, www.usaisrael.org, www.israeliwishes.com, and www.israeliproducts.com allow you to buy Israeli products directly. www.shorashim.net
is an online tourist gift shop. When in the grocery store, look for
brands like Elite, Telma, Osem, and Ahava beauty products -- even if
you have to pay a few more dollars for Israeli products. Ask the
supermarket manager to order these items specifically. Buy Israeli wine
to bring as a gift when you visit friends. Home Depot and other stores
have many made in Israel products -- especially plastics. www.israelexport.org lists the names of products sold in the USA.
- Speak out!
The next time you hear something
that puts down Israel, don't wonder to yourself, "What is anyone going
to do about it." No Jewish organization or Israeli consulate can fight
the propaganda war on every front, so don't assume they will. You be
the "anyone" and pick up your pen or keyboard and start writing. Write
a piece you for local newspaper, set up information tables at your high
school or college, or simply talk to people. Be a roving ambassador for
Israel by explaining the true facts to everyone you meet. Even the
cashier in the supermarket needs good information. You never know how
your contribution may affect someone else's views. The possibilities
are endless. The worst thing that one can do is to remain quiet in
times like this. So do something!
- Get the facts.
The Internet is a great
resource for getting an accurate picture of what is really happening in
the conflict. For daily news, visit the Jerusalem Post (http://www.jpost.com) and IMRA (http://www.imra.org.il).
For crucial background information, read "Israel: A History" (by Martin
Gilbert), "From Time Immemorial" (by Joan Peters), and "Myths and
Facts" (by Mitchell G. Bard) -- online at http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/myths/mftoc.html.
Pray to God to bring peace to the
land. Pray for Israel's leaders who need wisdom. Pray that they
continue to do what is best for Israel in spite of international
pressure. Pray for the safety of Israeli civilians who are targeted by
suicide bombers. Pray for the protection of IDF soldiers as they root
out every last terrorist. Ask God to heal Israel's wounded soldiers and
civilians and to thwart future terrorist attacks. And pray for the
Arabs to realize the true nature of their leadership and doctrines that
teach hate and murder. Regardless of your level of observance, you can
add a request for Israel to your regular (or even irregular) prayer
regimen. No prayer goes to waste. You can send prayers via the Western
Wall at www.thewall.org. Cry out for God's compassion -- because the
gates of tears are never closed. And remember: God is in ultimate
control. He has done miracles before and will do them again.
- Phone Israel.
Pick up the phone and make a
solidarity call to your Israeli friends and relatives. If you don't
know someone personally, ask someone who does. Call that person in
Israel and assure them that you share their pain and understand what
they're going through. Commend that person for having the courage to
live in Israel now. Let them know they are not alone!
- Protest bias in the media.
The media has a
powerful influence on public opinion and government policy. When you
discover a piece of bias, immediately contact the news agency and
complain. Keep your remarks respectful and stick to the facts. Build a
list of e-mail addresses of friends and colleagues, so when you
discover bias, you can alert others to also file a complaint. There is
power in the number of responses, even if your specific letter is not
printed. You can join a media watch email list at
www.HonestReporting.com which gives guidelines for how to be effective
in contacting the media, and has over 25,000 subscribers protesting
biased news against Israel.
- Give Tzedakah.
Give some charity every day
for Israel. Encourage others to give charity for Israel, too. A list of
worthy causes is online at: www.jewishcharitiesonline.com.
One person wrote; "Because our church has been forced to cancel their
annual trip to Israel, we are sending our money anyway to the tour
guides and bus driver."
- Empathize with terror victims.
As you are
lying in bed at night, imagine what it's like to be the sister, child
or parent of someone who yesterday was full of life, and today is
nothing but scattered bones and flesh. It's a mitzvah to cry and feel
another's pain. Send an e-mail to Prayers-InjuredVAT@yahoogroups.com
and they will send you regular updates with the names and status of
people who have been injured in attacks. A full listing of terror
victims - and suggestions to help - is online at: www.walk4israel.com and www.projectonesoul.com.
- Visit Israel.
Go to Israel on vacation, to
study, or to visit family. Encourage your local organizations to
sponsor trips -- study tours, religious tours, Bar/Bat Mitzvah tours.
It can be for 3 days or 10 days. Spend as much money as you can afford
in order to help the economy. Hotels, stores, restaurants are lacking
tourists -- precisely what the terrorists seek! Talk to others about
the beautiful landscape of Israel, about the unique feeling of
thousands of years of Jewish existence in Israel. Visiting Israel will
show Israelis that you really care, and will make a tremendous
difference to your own sense of connection. Make your motto: "Tourism
- Fly the Israeli flag.
Put an Israeli flag
in front of your home, church, etc. Let everyone know that you are
proud of Israel. Put an "I Support Israel" bumper sticker on your car.
Wear a combined American/Israeli flag pin on your lapel. If you can't
find an Israeli flag, make one yourself, or ask your kids to draw one,
and display it in your car window or office.
- Conserve energy.
Dependence on Arab oil
drives much of the pro-Arab sentiment throughout the world. American
foreign policy is also heavily influenced by the need for imported oil.
To conserve energy, take simple measures like making sure your tires
are properly inflated, using compact fluorescent light bulbs in your
home, and buying energy-efficient cars and appliances. What about
hanging up those car keys and walking or riding your bicycle for a
change? If millions would cut down on fuel consumption, the Arab clout
would change. Also, don't visit gas stations who import oil from Arab
countries. On a public policy level, urge your political
representatives to allow drilling for oil (while taking appropriate
measures to protect the environment), and to pass energy conservation
- Recognize the God factor.
With all the
practical efforts to help Israel -- media watch, education, economic
assistance, political lobbying, etc. -- don't forget the spiritual
component! The very existence of the Jewish people after 3,500 years --
and the return to the land after a long exile -- is miraculous.
Understand the significance of Abraham's covenant with God. Each of us,
on whatever level of observance, must strive to connect.
- Send flowers.
You can show family and
friends in Israel that you are thinking about them by sending flowers.
This is a double-mitzvah -- it can also save a flower shop from going
out of business because of the weakened Israeli economy. You can pay by
credit card over the phone or via email. One Jerusalem florist, an Oleh
from the UK, can be contacted at email@example.com.
- Rally for Israel.
Hold a rally in your
city. When thousands of people turn out for a public display of
support, it affects all segments of your community -- the politicians,
the media, general public opinion. And most importantly, it engenders
unity and pride within the Jewish and pro-Israel community.
- Know your enemy.
The Arab world tends to
say one thing in English, but a very different message in Arabic. Blood
libels and fabrications of Israeli-sponsored massacres are common.
Memri (www.memri.org) provides
important translations of the Arabic media. And the Center for
Monitoring Impact Peace tracks Palestinian compliance with peace
When we stop arguing amongst
ourselves and work together, then we can stand united against the
enemy, and the Almighty with us. Jerusalem was destroyed because of
people speaking negatively about each other, so that is the way we can
rebuild Jerusalem. Let us abstain from saying (or listening to)
anything bad about any Jew, any group of Jews, or even the Israeli
government unless it is constructive critique. The only way to stand
against our enemies is to become one with each other -- to lay down our
differences and work together.
- Holocaust education.
With the rise of
anti-Semitic incidents around the world, and the state-sponsored
anti-Semitism in Arab countries, it is important to see the warning
signs before a crisis happens. Learning about the Holocaust helps us
appreciate the depth of anti-Semitism and its root causes. Excellent
information is online at www.anti-semitism.com.
Squelch all anti-Semitic language everywhere you are. Stand up against
this terrible hatred -- no matter what the consequences.
- Visit your Congressman.
Form a concerned
citizen's group, and then make appointment to sit with your Congressman
for an hour in his Washington office. Then rent a bus and go! He will
see how seriously his constituents are about the Mideast issues.
- Educate the Palestinian public.
the hatred in the Palestinian media, textbooks, etc., an entire
generation is being raised for war, not peace. Find ways to introduce
democratic values into Palestinian society. Jews cannot realize their
dream for peace until the Arabs desire the same.
- Strive to be a better person.
Be nice to
fellow Jews and fellow human beings. Before you go to sleep each night,
go through your day, review your behavior, and resolve what you can do
better. By setting an example of higher Jewish moral and ethical
standards, we can strengthen the nation of Israel and by extension, the
State of Israel.
Ultimately, the reviving of our
devotion to the Almighty is going to bring about the reviving of the
land, and our people as a whole. If we can elevate ourselves even a
little, it can arouse the Almighty's compassion and Jewish lives can be
spared. Each individual who does teshuva brings Israel one step closer
- Post on the web.
There are hundreds of
Palestinian websites devoted to spreading propaganda -- with pictures
of starving Palestinian children and sites with blood dripping down
your screen describing the "horror of massacres orchestrated by the
fascist Israelis." Pro-Palestinian activists have flooded chat rooms,
bulletin boards, and online comments sections. Speak up against
individuals who spread lies, against the mobs who bomb synagogues in
Europe, and against those who preach intolerance in our schools and
universities. Be strong and take heart in the knowledge that all decent
people are on Israel's side.
- Make a small repair.
If you've had an argument with someone, simply forgive them, and then ask God to forgive His people.
- Donate blood.
When you are in Israel,
donate blood. With all the recent attacks, there is a great shortage.
To give blood is to give life, and shows a deep solidarity with Israel
and the Jewish people.
- Fight child abuse.
are being brainwashed into sacrificing their lives for the promise of
"martyrdom." A group called SICK - Stop Inciting Children to Kill (www.opsick.com) is trying to stop this child abuse.
- Support Israeli citizens.
your support, love and friendship by writing letters, postcards and
e-mails to everyone you know. Become an e-mail pen pal to someone in
- Thank God for His many miracles.
Read the Jerusalem Post (www.jpost.com) to see how almost every day suicide bombers and attacks are averted. And thank God!
- Organize an Israeli products fair.
Denver, Christians and Jews have come together under "ActionIsrael" to
sponsor what is called "Ben Yehudah Street in Denver." Shop owners in
Jerusalem send some of their inventory and it is sold for them. This
helps Jerusalem merchants keep their shops open and provide a living
for their families during this terrible time. Thousands turned out for
the first effort, and another is scheduled for April 21 at the JCC in
- The merit of a mitzvah.
Before you do any one of the 613 mitzvot, have in mind that God should use this merit to help protect Israel.
- Support Magen David Adom.
emergency service is severely financially strapped and in need of
ambulances. Months of terror have stretched MDA to its maximum
capacity, while exposing its rescue workers to extreme danger and great
sacrifice. Get your synagogue or school to start a campaign to defray
the cost of an ambulance. Or contribute on-line at: www.magendavidadom.org. Jewish lives depend on it.
- Aliyah! Make Israel your home.
You can have
a great effect on what happens in Israel by living there. A large
influx of educated, entrepreneurial Jews from Western countries will
give Israel a major boost. Israel is the place where a Jew is truly at
home and can maximize his/her Jewish potential. Start making plans to
move when things quiet down (or even now if you're brave).
- Learn Hebrew.
Call your local synagogue
and find out about Hebrew classes. This will build your bond with the
Jewish people and the Land of Israel.
- Get the Israeli side.
There's a lot of
misinformation out there. When an incident happens in Israel, visit the
websites of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (www.mfa.gov.il) and the Israeli Defense Forces (www.idf.il/english/news/main.stm) to get the Israeli side of the story.
- Learn Torah.
Through the learning of Torah,
the world is brought to its senses and the Jewish people are protected.
Make a commitment to a specific increase in the amount of time you
learn each day. Attend a class about Judaism, or pick something from
the recommended reading list at http://www.aish.com/literacy/reference/recommended_books.asp. The impact of even a few extra minutes of Torah learning is enormous. And teach Torah to your children!
- Contact the president.
Call or email
President Bush daily or weekly, to commend his support for Israel in
the common fight against terrorism, and respectfully urge him to allow
Israel to take vigorous action to defend itself. Write a short,
personal email with a subject line like: "Thank you for standing with
Israel." Every call, letter, and fax is counted. Send email to: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the White House comment line at: 202-456-1111 ,or 202-456-1414.
- Support Israeli soldiers.
Write a letter
and express appreciation for their self-sacrifice in valiantly
defending our people and our land. You can even send a care package to
a soldier with a holiday gift, etc.
- Fight terror.
For the civilized world to
survive, terrorism must be stopped. Some would appease Arab countries
who supply oil. Call on your government leaders to make policy
decisions based on what is morally correct, not economically expedient.
Show people the PBS video documentary: "Jihad in America" by Steven
Emerson. It's a real eye-opener.
- Distribute literature on college campuses.
There is an urgent need to counter the virulent wave on anti-Semitism
and pro-Palestinian activism on college campuses. Print and distribute
literature on campuses highlighting Israel's humanitarian achievements,
democracy and ethnic diversity. One group working on this front is
- Recite Psalms.
There is a time-honored
custom for Jews to gather and recite Psalms in times of distress. King
David wrote stirring words that seem to be written for our exact
situation today! You can set up a schedule to say a few Psalms every
day (recommended are Psalms 20, 83, 121,130 and 142), or organize a
group of friends to share saying the entire book together. Rabbi
Elyashiv in Israel has requested that all Jews worldwide take 15
minutes out of their hectic daily schedules to say Psalms. You can say
them in Hebrew or English, and a free downloadable translation is
available at www.artscroll.com.
- Reach out.
At such difficult times, Jews
need to reach out to one another. Invite an unaffiliated Jew to Shabbat
dinner. People are open to their heritage and feel the need to connect.
- Register and vote.
analyze voting registration and voter turnout carefully, and make
decisions accordingly. If you are not already registered to vote,
contact your local Board of Elections and ask for a voter registration
application, and be sure to vote in the upcoming elections.
- Invest. Buy stocks on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
Help Israeli companies obtain venture capital funds. You can even buy an Israel Bond for as little as $136. (www.israelbonds.com)
- Stop carnage on the roads.
Work to end the
terrible traffic accidents in the land of Israel which claim 600 lives
each year. It is absurd that while we fight against terror, there are
tragedies which are completely in our own hands and we refuse to take
the necessary steps to stop them.
- Sponsor educational forums.
Offer a crash course in the Mideast conflict at your local JCC, synagogue, or community college.
- Show both sides of the refugee issue.
conversations and in the media, emphasize how the Arab states have
mistreated the Palestinians -- refusing to grant them citizenship in
order to keep the "refugee" issue an open wound. Raise the issue of how
600,000 Jews were driven out of Arab lands during Israel's independence
and forced to abandon their property, with no right of return or
compensation ever extended to these Jewish refugees.
- Hold governments accountable.
call (and boycott if necessary) any governments that are complicit in
anti-Semitic and anti-Israel activities. Educate the public about the
inconsistency of the European Union stand. Why would democracies -- who
support human rights -- not speak out against virulent Arab hate
speech? Protest at the consulates of those countries who have minimized
the anti-Semitic activities taking place in their countries.
- Help Israel get better spokespeople.
Palestinian spokespeople are persuasive and articulate, but Israeli
spokespeople are sometimes less so. Compile a list of Israeli
spokespeople, and run an on-line poll, asking people to vote for their
favorite. Then inform the Israeli government of the results, so they
know who to get the networks to interview in the future. Israelis need
to know how they come across to the American TV viewer!
- Get a clear definition of terrorism.
September 11 united the civilized world against terrorism. Concerned
citizens should agree on a strong definition of terror, one that
encompasses September 11 terrorists and also suicide bombers. Once
agreed upon, there should be a mass campaign to get Congress and the
White House to make this definition official -- to the point of using
it to dictate policy. Once everyone is clear about what is "terrorism,"
support for Israel will grow much stronger. And let Congressional
leaders know that you do not agree with the double standard that has
been set in fighting terror -- one for America, another for Israel.
- Hold pray rallies.
Communal prayer is more
powerful than any individual can muster. The New York community is
holding a massive pray gathering on Sunday, April 21 at 2:30 p.m. in
Manhattan, on Water Street between Wall St. and Broad St. More info at www.TefillaGathering.org
- Support Israeli artists.
virtually non-existent, many Israelis who depend on it for their
livelihood are suffering. If you're going to buy a gift, try to buy a
work (piece of art, clothing, jewelry etc.) by an Israeli artist. In
Los Angeles, Victorian Rose in Brentwood Gardens has unique jewelry and
other works by Israeli artists. She can be reached at 310-826-9102.
You can also visit www.ArtofIsrael.com
- Sign up for solidarity.
is a website to enable people around the world to express support for
the State of Israel. One million people have already signed up. The
text will be presented to ambassadors in every country and published in
- Say the Shema.
The Shema is like the
Jewish "pledge of allegiance," a declaration of faith to One God and an
affirmation of commitment to Israel and the Jewish people. It is the
first prayer that Jewish children are taught to say. It is the last
words a Jew says prior to death. It is the ultimate expression of
Jewish conviction, the historic proclamation of Judaism's central
creed. It is traditionally said twice each day: once in the morning and
once at night.
- Yearn for redemption.
The Torah tells us
that for the Jews in Egypt, it wasn't until "We cried out to God, that
He heard our voice and saw our affliction." We had to hit rock-bottom,
to see there was no other option but to turn to God. If need be, God
will bring every force against us, and strip us bare of every possible
escape, in order to bring us the realization that He is the only answer
we will ever have. Actively yearn for the redemption and the coming of
Moshiach. This conflict will probably not end till he comes, so we must
work hard to make it happen now!
Get a group of friends together and spend one hour brainstorming for more ideas how you can help Israel.