Following the Hamas terrorist attacks on southern Israel on Oct. 7, a remarkable story of resilience and ingenuity has been unfolding in Israel. Small businesses, deeply impacted by the recent conflict, have found hope through a new initiative created by Jewish National Fund-USA that enables Americans to donate “Israel Support Packages” to members of the Israel Defense Forces and displaced Israeli families. The bespoke packages source products from local vendors and provide another important way to support Israel.
Since October, the initiative coordinated by the organization’s Western Galilee Now (WGN) business support network, has brought in over 800,000 Shekels to struggling businesses in the Western Galilee, allowing them to keep their doors open, their staff employed and maintain some sense of normalcy during this difficult time.
The Israel Support Packages range in price from $180 to $500 and include items such as arts and crafts materials, handmade chocolate, cheese, sweets, snacks, beverages, skincare products and more.
Ginadi Kozakevich, the owner of an artisanal coffee company, saw his income disappear with the outbreak of war, so he was pleasantly surprised when orders from the Israel Support Package initiative more than doubled his income, providing him with a lifeline to support his family and fuel his future.
“Since the start of the war, my income has dropped to almost 0%,” said Kozakevich. “With the help of orders from Jewish National Fund-USA, they increased my income by over 100%. They helped me support my family during this time. Beyond the widespread publicity, I received hundreds of ‘thank you’ messages from soldiers and evacuees from all over the country that warmed my heart and gave me hope during this difficult period.”
Art Gallery 192, a collective of 10 female artists, faced closure when tourism came to a halt in Akko. A sizeable order for 750 collaborative ceramic pieces commissioned by WGN and Jewish National Fund-USA became a much-needed financial boost, allowing them to reopen and cover expenses.
“Our studio was closed for two months while bills like rent and municipal taxes accumulated,” said local artist Edna Piorko. “All of Akko was completely emptied of visitors, and no orders were coming in until WGN reached out to us and placed a large order for 300 ceramic pomegranates. Then, we created another 750 ceramic pomegranates together, with each stage done in a different artist’s studio among the partners in the gallery. It was truly a lifesaver during a time when no money was coming in, but the expenses kept piling up. It gave us breathing room for that period, leading to even more orders we are working on for Jewish National Fund-USA”.
Western Galilee Now director Michal Shiloah Galnoor added, “Seeing these partnerships’ immense impact on local businesses is incredibly rewarding. This initiative proves that even small acts of compassion can make a world of difference, especially during challenging times. As we look to the future, I know that the bonds between American supporters of Israel and our Western Galilee region will only continue to bloom.”
By purchasing products from Israeli small businesses through Jewish National Fund-USA’s online store (jnf.org/store), individuals can directly contribute to Israel’s economic revival.