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      Thousands of Jackets Collected For Expulsion Refugees Stolen

      Thousands of winter jackets intended to be distributed to the 10,000 Jews expelled from Gaza and northern Samaria prior to their first homeless winter were stolen from a storage facility Tuesday.
      By Ezra HaLevi
      First Publish: 11/3/2005, 10:43 AM / Last Update: 11/3/2005, 10:06 AM


      Lori Lurie of Project Warm-Up, which collected the jackets, spoke on Israel National Radio’s Stutz and Fleisher Show, and described the demoralizing pain at the robbery.

      “We are trying to raise funds for a warm winter coat for each one of the 10,000 people from Gush Katif and the northern Shomron,” Lurie said. “Though some may have access to their containers, many do not, and none of them have experienced a real winter because Gush Katif has a very mild climate.

      “Many residents are now in the Golan [a much colder climate-ed.], and even as we are raising the funds, we have procured the coats in advance in order to get them to the residents in time for the winter.

      “We had organized for all the coats to go out to the cold areas by this Friday. By Monday we had already packed up some of the deliveries to bring them to certain places in the Golan and down south where it is really cold. We collected sizes from every single community and then those staying in hotels in Jerusalem were coming to our warehouses at Orot Chesed and starting [Tuesday] morning they were supposed to come pick up their coats.

      “When we arrived, the place had been burgled and most of the coats had been stolen. It was a big shock – especially since a lot of them had been children’s coats. We have really had a tremendous selection of children’s coats, and the warm adult fleeces had been difficult to obtain.”

      Lurie does not know who could have done such a thing. “It is the lowest of the low,” she said. “We had people who were expelled from Gush Katif helping us pack up these coats, and they returned with their children the next day, explaining how cold everybody was in Jerusalem and how much they were all looking forward to the coats. We came in and the door was still locked, but they had set a fire in front of the metal door and when it had softened a bit, they used a crowbar to open it.”

      Lurie said that although the 4,000 coats are worth at least half a million shekels, the police do not seem to be determined to carry out an investigation. “We brought in the police, but unfortunately they are not interested in continuing the investigation” she said.

      Despite the setback, Lurie refuses to give up. “We refuse to stop the project. We committed to these people to keep them warm this winter and we must raise the funds in order to do that.”

      Click here to listen to the complete interview

      To volunteer or offer assistance, email ProjectWarmUp@Hotmail.com