Stephen Flatow’s description of his shiva call to the Shevach family in Havat Gilad accurately describes a community, built on private Jewish land, which has experienced discrimination from the Israeli government since its creation about 15 years ago. Struggling with the label, “illegal settlement”, the residents have experienced sporadic electricity and water, which they must purchase themselves. These are basic necessities, which, if denied by Israel to the Gazans, would have the world screaming about inhumanity. If it’s done to Jews it seems to pass unnoticed.
It took the murder of Rabbi Raziel Shevach, a beloved resident of Havat Gilad, for attention to be paid. My organization, Americans for a Safe Israel, as well as the Israel Independence Fund, led by Aharon Pulver, have been the few, perhaps only, organizations that have tried to help the community.
I recently paid a late condolence call to Rabbi Shevach’s widow, Yael. I was introduced to her by Ilana Shimoni, an ardent spokeswoman for the community whom we have befriended over the years. I marveled at Yael’s strength of character and beauty during our meeting. The one thing the women asked for was help with building their mikveh. The women of Havat Gilad, who struggle with all the hardships the community presents, are entitled to have the comfort of a mikveh. They have already raised some funds for the project and are hoping to raise more.
Another wish expressed by Yael Shevach was for the donation of a Torah scroll in time for the shloshim for her husband. He was killed on Jan. 9 so the time is growing short.
For information about donating to the mikveh or the Torah scroll, please contact AFSI at 212-828-2424, firstname.lastname@example.org, or the AFSI website
. If using the website to make a donation, just hit the DONATE button, use your credit card, and earmark the amount for Havat Gilad.