LA Jews coordinate donations and aid flights to Israel


LOS ANGELES (KABC) — As the war in Israel enters its third week, Los Angeles resident Joelle Uzyel has also felt the impact of Hamas’ attack and the fighting that’s followed.

Uzyel, who was born in Israel, first had to get her mother back home to LA. She’d been visiting family in israel. Then Uzyel jumped into action coordinating aid of all kinds.

“I have been working through my DMs, emails, Whatsapp group chats. Just logistics on gathering donations. Collecting them. Sending them to storage facilities,” said Uzyel.

And that aid has already made it to Israel, helping those in need thanks to two cargo flights including one which left LAX over the weekend.

The donations and flights have been coordinated by Worldwide Friends Foundation, which was started after Russia invaded Ukraine. Their newly-formed mission is called Israel Friends.

“There’s 191 pallets or skids, going on this plane. It’s 61 tons of aid – a mix of critical protective equipment, medical aid and humanitarian aid,” said Teddy Raskin, co-founder of Worldwide Friends Foundation and Friends of Israel.

“Children who are orphans. Families who walked out of their homes with dead family members with nothing except for what was on them. So these families were displaced and here in LA, we were gathering stuff – anything from baby formula, baby clothes, clothing, toys, books,” said Uzyel.

The goal according to Uzyel: Help get the victims of the attack back on their feet to navigate the difficult months ahead. But also create a way for Jews in Los Angeles and around the world who are in mourning and feel scared, to contribute in any way they can.

“Over the last few days, we had over 200 volunteers, mostly LA moms, who came together and packed over 700 boxes from toothbrushes to diapers, to baby formula, to flashlights for women and children in Israel,” said Elizabeth who helped fund the cargo flight and did not want to share her last name.

“What’s happening in this conflict doesn’t only affect the Israelis. It also affects the Palestinians,” said Uzyel. “When I see women and children and men being injured in Gaza, it’s heartbreaking. We’re at war. Nobody is going to win. Both sides are suffering. We must find peace. We must find a way to live together. We’re neighbors.”

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