Vision for Israel's Support of Holocaust Survivors
There are about 215,000 Holocaust survivors living in Israel today. Many of them suffer from loneliness, financial distress, and health problems. Vision for Israel made it our goal to support and help the Holocaust survivors in Israel, to relieve them and make it possible for them to live the rest of their lives with dignity.
Vision for Israel has different projects that are carried out throughout the year:
Cafe Europa Social Club
Cafe Europa is an active community that supports English-speaking Holocaust survivors who made Aliyah and suffer from loneliness and a lack of social support. Their difficulty stems from arriving in Israel at an older age, and from the language barrier. Besides the weekly meetings, which include lectures, music, and education about their rights, the survivors are treated to refreshments each time they gather. They also enjoy special activities like trips and visits to museums. We sponsor all the activities and refreshments.
Elderly Holocaust survivors who cannot afford to purchase heaters for their homes receive heaters and blankets. This way, they can get through the winter safely and with minimal heating costs.
Financial Aid for Holidays
We distribute magnetic gift cards to hundreds of poverty-stricken survivors throughout the country twice a year: for Passover and Rosh HaShanah. To those who live far away, we mail the gift cards by registered mail. Those who live closer receive the gifts from us personally. We love to see the joy and excitement on their faces, evidence of how much they need this help.
This is a special project where we give computers to the survivors. University and college students come to the survivors' homes once a week and teach them how to use a computer. The survivors' benefit is double—not only do they get some company, but the world of the Internet is also opened to them, so they can stay connected with family and friends in Israel and abroad.
We also donated 10 new computers to a computer room at an elderly social club in Kiryat Gat. For many of the elderly, these are the only computers they can use for keeping themselves occupied and for staying in touch with family and friends by using e-mail, Skype, and more.
New Project—Panic Buttons
Recently, we joined a new project which provides Holocaust survivors with panic buttons. The service is intended for Holocaust Survivors who are in financial need, who live at home or in assisted living. The service includes the instalment of the panic button in the survivor's home and additional support for an extra cost: doctor visit, medical evacuation, medical consultation available by phone 24 hours a day, and security patrol.
Many survivors live alone, without any family or social support. The panic button enables them to get immediate help, including an ambulance or doctor in case of a fall, distress, or illness. The call centre is available 365 days a year. For a Holocaust survivor who lives alone, this is an acute need, which gives them protection, a sense of security, and peace of mind.
One example of how the panic button helps is the story of Naomi, a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor who had one of these emergency buttons installed at her house. She felt sick at 4:00 one morning. She pushed the button, which she was holding in her hand. The emergency service answered immediately, but she was unable to communicate. The service contacted Naomi's son to alert him to the situation, but the emergency medical team arrived at her house before he did. They found her on the floor and unconscious. They were able to stabilize her condition, and the ambulance took her to the nearby hospital to continue treatment. Naomi is alive and well today thanks to this panic button.
The cost of installing one emergency button and supplying the service is £98.50 per person, per year.