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Eilat, once a jewel of Israeli tourism, known for its stunning beaches and vibrant nightlife, faces an unprecedented shift in its identity. The city, famed for offering respite and leisure to travelers from around the world, now finds itself at the center of a humanitarian crisis. Over 70,000 refugees, mainly from communities around the Gaza Strip and Northern Israel, have been forced to leave their homes following the devastating October 7 attacks.
The transformation is stark. A city that comfortably housed 50,000 residents and welcomed tourists year-round is now a refuge for families who have experienced unimaginable loss. Hotels, once bustling with tourists, are now filled with displaced families. The streets, previously alive with the excitement of holidaymakers, now echo with stories of survival and resilience.
Impact on Tourism and Local Life
This influx has dramatically altered the city’s landscape and its tourism industry. The usual scenes of vacationers enjoying water sports, desert tours, and luxury stays have given way to a more somber reality. The city’s resources, from hospitality to basic amenities, are stretched to their limits, affecting both refugees and residents alike.
Chabad’s Response to the Crisis
In the midst of this, Chabad of Eilat has stepped in as a crucial support system. Adapting swiftly to the city’s changing needs, Chabad has initiated various programs to aid the displaced families:
- Children’s Programs: Mini camps and daily clubs (Chugim) in 10 hotels offer a respite for children, providing educational and recreational activities.
- Shabbos Celebrations: Family-oriented Erev Shabbat concerts and challah baking sessions help maintain help inspire the families and strengthen their community.
- Support for Women: Women’s circles and events offer a platform for emotional support and community connection.
- Youth Engagement: Programs for teens, including the establishment of multiple game rooms and teen lounges in hotels to give a place for teens to break away from the grief and trauma they have experienced. In addition, volunteering opportunities and CTeens activities are engaging the youth in meaningful ways.
- Chanukah Programs: As Chanukah approaches each hotel (60) will hold special Chanukah programs and menorah lightings. Chabad of Eilat will be providing activities and gifts to children to give families respite and a little bit of joy during Chanukah.
The stories are unimaginable, Your support will be unforgettable.
In response to the dire situation, Chabad of Eilat has launched the Uplift Eilat Campaign, to raise $1,000,000. This campaign is critical in enabling Chabad of Eilat to provide for thousands of stranded families. All of the funds raised are being immediately invested in more programming, camps, lounges and activities to provide relief for children teens and adults of all ages.
A Plea for Support: How You Can Participate
The stories of loss and displacement are heart-wrenching, but they also present an opportunity for collective action and support.
Go to uplifteilat.com to donate immediately
Sponsor A Program:
Go to uplifteilat.com and scroll down to see available programs you can sponsor