Help sought for displaced Gazans

Help sought for displaced Gazans

Representatives of JobKatif — an Israeli organization dedicated to finding employment for the former residents of Gush Katif, the evacuated communities of Gaza — recently spoke in Englewood, seeking support for their work.

As of today, 1,375 former residents of Gush Katif are still unemployed, according to JobKatif spokeswoman Ruthie Lieberman. "This number includes those who were in full cooperation with the government before the disengagement," she said.

JobKatif’s 150 volunteers address needs that are not being met by the government, she added. About $’50,000 has been spent aiding new business ventures, starting retraining courses, assisting with job placement, and helping tide over families during retraining. So far, 100 people are in retraining courses, 400 have been placed in new jobs, and 40 new small businesses have been started.

"The benefits of finding employment extend far beyond financial; it is the beginning of the rehabilitation process for the entire family," Lieberman said.

JobKatif needs $500,000 in seed money for new businesses; $4’0,000 to fund additional retraining courses; and $40,000 to reestablish a former Gush Katif handbag-and-jewelry factory that employed people with disabilities. Other funds are needed to re-establish agricultural businesses and pay for job counseling and additional career services.

Tax-deductible contributions can be made payable to The Central Fund of Israel, 980 Sixth Ave., New York, NY 10018 with "JobKatif" in the memo line. For more information, go to