When a crowdfunder in Gaza got the response he wasn’t expecting
On August 11, 2014, USA Today covered the story of Rev. Raed Abusahliah, a Palestinian Christian pastor and director of the Catholic humanitarian aid group Caritas Jerusalem.
At the height of Operation Cast Lead, Abusahliah launched a fundraising campaign to collect donations of food, clothing and other vital supplies for the people in Gaza. According to the newspaper report, Abusahliah “hoped for generous support from Christians and Muslims eager to help their beleaguered brethren recover from the destruction left by Israel’s conflict with Hamas Militants.” What Abusahliah didn’t anticipate was the outpouring of support from Israeli Jews, who, by his own account, constituted about half of the 600-700 donors to the campaign. “I admit that I am somewhat surprised,” he said. “Many Jews have also sent us messages of solidarity and offers of everything from baby clothes to blood donations.”
The polls in Israel may have shown that a vast majority of Jews believed that the Israel Defense Forces had no choice but to put an end to the nearly 4,500 Hamas rocket attacks that had been launched on Israel over the duration of the summer. But according to Angy Shavit, one of the Israelis who promoted Cariatas’ campaign through social media, “that doesn’t mean we believe the civilians in Gaza are the enemy.” Shavit also said that most of the Jewish Israelis who donated to the campaign “don’t feel guilty” about Israel’s military operation against Hamas which the United States, European Union and Israel classify as a terroro rganization. “It’s just that when a baby needs diapers you donate diapers.”