top of page
Emergency Activities

Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council

The Shahaf Foundation is actively implementing this emergency evacuation plan and providing support for approximately 10,000 individuals from seven communities within the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council: Nachal Oz, Kfar Aza, Miflasim, Erez, Bror Hayal, Or Haner, and Nir Am. These communities are currently residing in hotels throughout Israel.

The Shahaf Foundation has undertaken key roles to aid evacuees, each tailored to meet specific community needs during emergencies. One such role is the Community Emergency Coordinator, responsible for managing community resources effectively across various centers during crises. Another vital position is the Emergency Team Coordinator, tasked with overseeing volunteer teams in emergency situations, acting as a bridge between the community and the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council, and supporting the Community Coordinator in times of crisis.


Additionally, the role of the Education Coordinator is crucial. This position focuses on orchestrating educational programs for evacuees ranging from early childhood to 18 years. Responsibilities include evaluating educational needs, handling referrals, and securing support from civil society organizations and the council. Beyond educational support, the coordinator also arranges cultural activities and community programs.

The implementation of these roles and the assistance provided have been made feasible through the generous support of the Joseph and Harvey Meyerhoff Family Charitable Funds, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies and the Ashalim JDC – Israel.


Collaborative Efforts between Philanthropy and Sderot Municipality

The collaborative efforts between philanthropy and Sderot Municipality have yielded significant successes.

A key achievement is the development of a working model for managing the hotel stays of Sderot's residents during evacuations, ensuring effective communication and support. This initiative led to the emergence of a new tier of community leadership, particularly among residents serving as hotel coordinators. The evacuation process also facilitated the formation of new, diverse communities within hotels, enhancing communal resilience and establishing new collaborative interfaces for improved urban management.

Regarding evacuation statistics, of Sderot's approximately 35,000 residents, around 34,000 were evacuated. During their hotel stays, about 6,000 residents gradually returned to the city. In terms of staffing for this joint project, 72 coordinators were employed in November 2023, 55 in December 2023, and similar numbers in January 2024. Sderot Municipality staff also played integral roles in various managerial and coordinative capacities.

Furthermore, tailored training programs focusing on community-building, volunteer management, and role clarity were provided to hotel coordinators. Finally, a generic guide was developed, compiling knowledge from field experiences to detail the evacuation and accommodation system, offering insights and future action plans for similar situations.

We extend our gratitude to the contributors who have joined this effort, including Joseph and Harvey Meyerhoff Family Charitable Funds, Yad Hanadiv, New Israel Fund, Ashalim -JDC -Israel, the UJA Federation of New York, National Insurance, and the Sderot Municipality.


The Human Impact

The Challenge of Losing Personal Space

Evacuees from Sderot in hotels often face the challenge of losing personal space. To tackle this issue, a hotel coordinator in Jerusalem implemented a model with the support of community volunteers. In this model, each floor has a designated community volunteer acting as a floor manager, addressing the residents' needs. This approach has fostered a greater sense of ownership and connection among the residents on each floor and throughout the hotel. To further enhance a homely atmosphere, welcoming signs with the residents' family names were placed on each door. These thoughtful measures have significantly improved the hotel living experience and helped in averting potential conflicts.


Caring for the Elderly Evacuees

Elderly individuals from a Sderot sheltered housing were relocated to a hotel, causing a major shift in their everyday lives. Our observations during visits revealed these elderly residents often spending time in the hotel lobby. The concerted efforts of the headquarters team and hotel coordinators are making a positive difference. It is heartening to see these seniors engaging in tailored activities, made possible through the support of various foundations, bringing a new level of engagement and enjoyment to their altered circumstances.

Celebrating Birthdays

Hotels now host inclusive birthday celebrations for their young guests, with the involvement of all children and teens staying there. Evacuees within these hotels often take on the role of event coordinators, actively involving both the children in the hotel and the local community in organizing these celebrations. This collaborative approach ensures that birthday parties are engaging and enjoyable for every child at the hotel, thanks to the coordinated efforts of volunteers and hotel coordinators who lead these community-driven activities.


Ashkelon faces a two-fold challenge: firstly, overseeing a widespread refugee system catering to vulnerable groups across the nation, and secondly, administering urban governance for over 100,000 inhabitants who have stayed in the city. The city's proximity to the ongoing Gaza conflict escalates these challenges as it constantly endures emergency situations due to rocket attacks.

To tackle these issues, Ashkelon has formulated a comprehensive urban resilience strategy, anchored by two key components:

  • Enhancing Resilience in Evacuee Accommodations: Roughly 4,000 individuals found temporary refuge in hotels for about a month, with most returning home by the end of November.

  • Fortifying Community Resilience in Local Neighborhoods: The city has taken significant steps to bolster its neighborhood structures. This initiative aims to improve basic service delivery and reinforce both community and urban resilience. The focus is on augmenting existing neighborhood frameworks and fostering a culture of community engagement, where residents actively participate in and contribute to neighborhood development and mutual support.

In support of these efforts, the Shahaf Foundation is actively involved in reinforcing the neighborhood framework in 20 neighborhoods. This is achieved through financing neighborhood coordinators and establishing urban neighborhood hubs. Such efforts allow the city to adopt a community-centric approach in its operations and planning.

We extend our gratitude to the contributors who have joined this effort, including JFNA, Yad Hanadiv, New Israel Fund, Rashi Foundation, National Insurance Funds, and the Municipality of Ashkelon.

The Human Impact

Assistance to a New Mother in the Neighborhood

Concerned residents reached out to the municipal center regarding a neighbor in their building. In response, volunteers discovered a recent immigrant who does not speak Hebrew, living there. She had given birth just a week ago and was at home with her two young children, both under the age of three. Her husband had been called to reserve duty on October 7th, leaving her unable to leave the house while caring for her children. The volunteers, during their visit, noticed that she was running low on essential supplies like diapers, formula, and basic food items. To support her, the neighborhood volunteers provided necessary food supplies, warm meals, diapers, and formula, and they continued this assistance until her husband returned home safely.


Assistance to an Elderly Woman in the Neighborhood

Background: In the early stages of the war, our efforts reached over 1,400 households, delivering more than 3,000 meals daily. We mobilized volunteers to deliver hot meals door-to-door, focusing on elderly and impoverished families. To build a sense of community and familiarity, we tried to assign volunteers consistently to the same addresses.

One of our volunteers made several visits to a home where a solitary, ailing elderly woman resided. Seeing the need for more sustained support, she rallied her fellow volunteers. Together, they committed to regularly caring for this elderly woman. Since then, their visits have become a fixture, filled with conversations, shared activities, and assistance with food and meals. This enduring bond has outlasted the initial phase of meal distribution, blossoming into a lasting relationship.


Kiryat Shmona

Thirteen days following the onset of the war, on October 20th, the Israeli government decided to evacuate Kiryat Shmona. Faced with the absence of a pre-existing, structured plan, the city had to adapt and modify its evacuation approach multiple times. Remarkably, within a span of just five days, over 21,000 residents, accounting for 90% of the city's populace, undertook independent relocation. During this evacuation, these individuals were accommodated in approximately 184 hotels spread from Ma'aleh Adumim in the north to Eilat in the south. To effectively manage this challenging evacuation process, the development of a new organizational framework was essential.

The Shahaf Foundation is currently adapting our emergency response plan to efficiently manage the challenging evacuation process in Kiryat Shmona.


  • Building organizational and community infrastructures enabling Kiryat Shmona to implement an optimal evacuation process for its residents.

  • Enhancing community resilience and fostering rehabilitation efforts by local authorities during the war (short term), which will establish a basis for the medium to long-term recovery (1-3 years) of communities, following the end of the war.

  • Ensuring optimal utilization of all government resources allocated for evacuation at both the local authority and resident levels, and increasing the philanthropic resources dedicated to the evacuation process and assistance.

In this endeavor, the Shahaf Foundation is actively collaborating with various partners, including the Ronald S. Roadburg Foundation, Israel Emergency Campaign of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, Magbit Coast to Coast, JFNA, Rashi Foundation, B'Yachad Foundation, Yad Hanadiv, MATAN – Investing In The Community, and Municipality of Kiryat Shmona.

Emergency Initiatives within the Ongoing Programs of the Shahaf Foundation

Neighborhoods in Change
The Shahaf Foundation has committed four years to the "Neighborhoods in Change" project, dedicated to improving the quality of life and bolstering community resilience in four neighborhoods in Israel. In this demanding period, it is evident how neighborhood coordinators and activists play a pivotal role in addressing the crisis that has surfaced in the aftermath of the war, tirelessly working to support the residents of these neighborhoods.


Mitzpeh Ramon

Mitzpeh Ramon, home to 5,700 residents, has extended a warm welcome to 3,000 refugees. The Shahaf Foundation has been actively supporting these refugees through resilience-building activities. These initiatives encompass school circus team programs integrated into the educational system, as well as a range of empowerment projects, including a community choral initiative, an appreciation event dedicated to Mitzpeh Ramon's volunteers, and much more.
he activity takes place with the support of Rashi Foundation, and Mitzpeh Ramon Municipality.

Sharet Neighborhood, Lod

During the war in the Sharet neighborhood in Lod, the Shahaf Foundation actively engaged in various essential initiatives. We began by conducting a comprehensive needs assessment for the neighborhood's residents, ensuring that support was tailored to their specific requirements. To enhance preparedness and resilience, we provided training for residents living in shelters, equipping them with vital emergency skills. The Shahaf Foundation also played a crucial role in establishing a network of leaders in the buildings in the neighborhoods who could serve as emergency contacts within the community, fostering a sense of security. Additionally, we extended personal assistance to residents seeking unemployment benefits and offered support to bereaved families during these challenging times. Recognizing the importance of education, the Shahaf Foundation aided in organizing remote learning for students to ensure continuity in their studies. Furthermore, we facilitated empowerment activities to uplift families within the neighborhood and conducted educational programs geared toward the youth, fostering growth and resilience in the face of adversity.


Spearheading Communality

The Spearheading Communality initiative brings together key stakeholders in the field of community engagement within local authorities, comprising two professional communities: the first consists of community administrators and department heads, while the second is the "core community", a diverse group encompassing social organizations, government offices, research institutes, and municipal executives.

After conducting a needs assessment during the war, we have decided to arrange an appreciation event for community workers in local authorities, in collaboration with department heads. The event's goal is to highlight and recognize the tireless efforts of these workers who have been working around the clock during this period.

In the core community, we will convene a meeting with the theme "Establishing Routine in an Emergency". During this gathering, various organizations will share their experiences from the war, we will explore post-crisis management, and we will engage in discussions about the collaborative policy-making process we intend to lead.

Thriving Community

In November 2023, sixteen local authorities enrolled in the Thriving Community program, a long-term initiative spanning four years, with an immediate focus on emergency response programs for residents.

The emergency response plans in the community are based on establishing a socio-community infrastructure and a strategic approach by the authorities that integrates the community into decision-making and emergency response mechanisms.

A training program for emergency response coordinators has been established, covering areas such as:

  • Initiatives that develop community infrastructure and mutual aid, fostering community resilience.

  • Creation of a network of emergency activists/volunteers, either from start or by utilizing existing networks.

  • Training and support for emergency activists.

  • Mapping and organizing community resources, including residents, institutions, and local businesses that require emergency assistance.

  • Developing and organizing community educational initiatives to support the community.

  • Preparing urban-community spaces for emergency situations. (budgets are allocated for coordination efforts, not for equipment purchases or renovations).

  • Management of neighborhood emergency systems within the local authority.

  • Implementing a digital system for managing neighborhood or municipal data.

  • Establishing a municipal framework that connects departments and divisions within the authority and/or links them with residents.



The Shahaf Foundation's work during times of conflict is of paramount importance, serving as a beacon of hope and support amidst turmoil. Throughout the war, the Foundation has played a crucial role in addressing both immediate and long-term needs, with a focus on community resilience and emergency response.

The Shahaf Foundation's success stems directly from our expertise in creating an efficient and workable emergency evacuation plan aimed at strengthening community resilience.

We express our gratitude to our dedicated supporters for their trust and unwavering belief in the crucial role that the Shahaf Foundation fulfills during emergencies and throughout the year.

Our heartfelt prayers go out for the safe return of all the hostages and the courageous soldiers defending our nation.

Activities and Support for
Evacuees in Hotels Nationwide

Establishing learning spaces for evacuated students, setting up a kindergarten, organizing leisure activities, and providing tours for community managers, among other initiatives.
Educational activity and logistical support in Mitzpe Ramon
The project "Neighborhoods in Change" in Lod continues to support neighborhoods even in an emergency

In response to the unprecedented crisis that unfolded on October 7, 2023, Israel had to deliver swift and professional assistance to aid the communities and cities devastated by this catastrophe.

The Shahaf Foundation immediately responded and developed an emergency plan to strengthen community resilience for the tens of thousands of evacuees, as well as the neighborhoods under missile attacks.

bottom of page