Every few months, horrible headlines appear in the media about the severe hardships, and even incidents of death, in makeshift daycares for toddlers of refugees and foreign workers in Israel. These stories take place especially in the heart of the “City of Lights”, Tel Aviv, yet it appears that for some of the city’s population, the light does not reach them.
Babies are dying from neglect, illness, and unlivable conditions in these damp and dark basements or bomb shelters. They are a makeshift solution for foreign workers and refugees who are not eligible or cannot afford suitable frameworks that will protect their children while they go to work.
A few months ago, a similar headline shocked Eitan Kashten, director of the publishing house HaChotam and elder and teacher at Grace & Truth Christian Congregation.
“I heard the shocking story of the death of several infants in these refugee daycares,” says Eitan. While most of us just remained shocked, Eitan, setting aside his political views and opinions, decided to do something. “Through a member of another congregation, we contacted Elifelet, an organization that helps refugees’ children in Israel. We asked how we could help the children, and were told that during the summer months they need fans to ventilate the stuffy rooms. We purchased a few fans and went to deliver them to the home of the organization’s director. I was able to take this opportunity to let her know that we are Messianic Jews.”
“The whole issue,” Eitan explains, “is to learn to provide not only for our own needs (the believers), but also for the needs of the greater society.”
Indeed there is no lack of need around us. These daycares are in need of desperate help. We are talking about thousands of children and infants who are hungry, lonely and completely neglected. They are locked up in these basements or bomb shelters for long periods of time, without any activities, and sometimes even tied to their chairs for a full day. They have already lost hope that someone will pick them up even if they cry for hours. It may seem that any help would only be a drop in a bucket, but at the same time it is meaningful and more precious to them than can be described.
“We didn’t do anything great. It wasn’t part of some project,” Eitan clarifies. “We just did something basic, and I want to use this opportunity to make a call to all of the Israeli congregations to join the existing efforts in their area. There are people in need around us, and the Word of God calls us to help and support them. Contact organizations that work in this field, go visit these daycares, and see for yourself how you can help.”photo by mako.co.il
In addition to this, let us remember these children and their parents in our prayers.
“He secures justice for the orphan and the widow; he loves the foreigner, giving him food and clothing. Therefore you are to love the foreigner, since you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.”