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“Without this country, we as Jews abroad would not exist”

“Without this country, we as Jews abroad would not exist”

While there is a feeling that Israel is increasingly isolated internationally, a wave of solidarity is sweeping through the Jewish people. After the Hamas attacks on October 7, many Zionists mobilized to help with this collective Israeli trauma. This is the case of a group of 100 Argentines, Mexicans and Brazilians who left their cities of origin on December 3 and took part in a volunteer program that ends tomorrow. Your mission? Collect fruits and vegetables from Israeli fields.

Many of the farmers, both on farms on the Gaza border and in southern Lebanon, were evacuated from their homes. Many others were injured and killed on October 7 and hundreds of foreigners fled the country due to the insecurity, leaving the plantations without workers.

“We are Jews and very Zionists, we feel very alone,” he admits. Richard, 64 years old. “After 7-O I thought I had to do something, help in some way, so I contacted an organization – called La Casa – and on December 3rd we left Buenos Aires.” Ricardo is the owner of a plastic recycling company and gave up everything to go to Israel to come and devote themselves to agriculture. Here he works in the fields, as shown by the wounds and scars on his arms. “It’s made from grapefruit,” he emphasizes. Their base where they sleep is in Ra’anana, north of Tel Aviv. They have already harvested tomatoes, been to a cucumber plantation and a citrus plantation and collected tangerines and grapefruits. Some of his classmates were picking strawberries. “We go where workers are needed.”

Hugo He traded the scalpel and sterilized supplies for a saddlebag and sturdy gloves. “At first I tried to come as a traumatologist, but they were overwhelmed. Time passed and the truth is that Israeli hospitals do not need doctors. “They are very well looked after.” Ricardo told him that a group of volunteers was being formed and he would not hesitate to join. “I’m interested in helping out with whatever it is. “I don’t lose my rings anymore” when I work in the fields these days. “The goal is to be there, to share the pain and fear. Try to relieve problems like contractions,” he says. Hugo claims that in order to get here he had to spend his vacation at the state hospital where he works. “The days here are very intense. We get up very early and go to bed very late: we hardly sleep 4 or 5 hours. We get on the buses and go to a different farm every day,” he explains. “Solidarity toward Israel is what drives us, but within this country we have experienced an intrinsic solidarity that is astonishing,” describing a variety of altruistic acts. So they are not afraid of insecurity as the missiles are fired precisely at the areas where they work.

However, Ricardo and Hugo are very concerned about anti-Semitism in the world: “It is huge abroad.” “We have the feeling that we as Jews abroad would not exist without this country,” explains Ricardo. “100%”. In Hugo’s opinion, “anti-Semitism exploded in Europe and even more so in Spain, it got out of control.” Therefore, one of the intentions of his coming is that he “can later convey what is happening to those who do not sympathize with these ideas, but with me sympathize.”

On the same line, Fleur Hassan Nahoumdeputy mayor of Jerusalem, adds in a meeting with Hispanic journalists that “how they killed several workers in the fields and kibbutzim who were of Thai origin” and “as in one of the most gruesome videos that have circulated” the beheading of.” When one of them was attacked with a hoe by Hamas terrorists on October 7, “many Thais left Israel.” “We lacked manpower and it turned out that we had to collect and there were no people. That’s why, together with a group of Israelis and from the mayor’s office, I started “a volunteer program, like before when we took them to the kibbutzim.” “Now we’re talking to the Ministry of Agriculture so that they can at least cover the cost of the plane tickets “, hopes Hassan-Nahoum.

The deputy mayor assures that students in schools now spend a whole day picking oranges and strawberries… “They also plant next year’s harvest.” Similarly, in large Israeli companies they organize a day in the office in the fields . In general, there are a lot of volunteers, although “they cannot be compared with professionals,” he admits. Of course, “the good thing we have is that we are a very resilient people that does not take long to take action.” “We are already thinking about the problems of tomorrow,” concludes Hassan-Nahoum.

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